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香港女性最长寿的秘诀

Daily Exercise Is Recipe for Long Life in Hong Kong
香港女性最长寿的秘诀

HONG KONG — A bit after 7 a.m., rain or shine, Grace Chan, 65, makes her way up and down one of the many mountain trails in this subtropical metropolis.

香港——刚过早晨7点,不论是雨是晴,65岁的格雷丝·陈(Grace Chan,音译)都会沿着香港的一条山径上上下下。这个亚热带大都市拥有许多山径。

At the same hour each day, Tang Shuet Pik, 75, practices the Chinese martial art of tai chi in Victoria Park , a sanctuary in one of Hong Kong Island’s busiest shopping districts. And Tang Yuet Lin, 80, can be found touching her toes before she plunges into the waters of Silverstrand Beach for her ritual daily swim.

每一天的同一时刻,75岁的唐世碧(Tang Shuet Pik,音译)都在维多利亚公园打太极拳。这是一处闹中取静的地方,周围是香港岛最繁华的商业区之一。80岁的唐玥琳(Tang Yuet Lin,音译)正在做手触脚趾的准备运动,即将在银线湾的海水中进行她的每日游泳。

Despite the smog and at times oily Cantonese cuisine, women in Hong Kong live the longest among most populations in the world, and this is partly why: A tradition of dawn workouts that put many of their sons, daughters and the rest of us to shame.

尽管周围有烟尘,时常都吃油腻的粤菜,香港女性的寿命却比世界上大多数人口都长。部分原因是由于晨练的传统,这样的传统使得她们的子女和我们这些人都觉得自愧不如。

The average life expectancy of women at birth here is 86.7 years, according to government statistics published last month. For men it’s 80.5 years. That’s up from 78.5 years for women and 72.3 years for men 30 years ago. The report attributes the increase in longevity to better medical services and greater health consciousness.

根据上个月发表的政府统计数据,这里出生的女性的平均寿命是86.7岁,男性则是80.5岁。而在30年前,女性的平均寿命只有78.5岁,男性也只有72.3岁。该报告把平均寿命的增长归功于更好的医疗服务和更强的健康意识。

Places like Monaco, Andorra and Japan also consistently rank among the highest in life expectancy (while Swaziland and Zambia are among the lowest). The South China Morning Post , an English-language newspaper here, reported last month that women in Hong Kong can now expect to live the longest in the world, surpassing Japan for the first time.

摩纳哥、安道尔和日本之类的地方也一直都拥有最高的预期寿命(斯威士兰和赞比亚则居于最低的行列)。香港英文报纸《南华早报》在上个月的报道中称,香港女性的预期寿命已经居于世界首位,第一次超过了日本。

Whether that is true depends on how you crunch the numbers, of course, but one thing is for sure: Hong Kong’s older women are out in full force in the city’s quieter corners each morning and that exercise is contributing to the quality and length of their lives.

当然,这个结论是否符合事实,取决于你如何处理统计数字。但有一件事是肯定的,香港的老年妇女每天早上都会全体出动,在这座城市的安静角落进行锻炼,这有助于提高她们的生活质量、延长她们的寿命。

Ms. Chan retired when she was 50 after working various office jobs and raising, by her own admission, an un-athletic son. Hiking is now her main occupation.

陈女士在50岁时退了休,此前她做过各种各样的办公室工作,还养大了一个据她自己说没有运动细胞的儿子。现在,徒步行走成了她的主要职业。

A 6 a.m. wake-up and a bowl of oatmeal behind her, Ms. Chan begins her three-kilometer, or two-mile, ascent up Mount Parker Road . Dressed in gray trousers and a green T-shirt, with a black bag for water and an umbrella, Ms. Chan marches ahead at a speed that would leave many people breathless. But she talks as fluidly as if she were seated with a cup of tea.

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陈女士早上6点起床,喝过一碗燕麦片之后就开始长达3公里的柏架山盘山公路之旅。她穿着灰色裤子和绿色T恤,带着一个装水的黑包和一把雨伞,走路的速度会让许多人气喘吁吁。但是,她却能像坐着喝茶一般自如地交谈。

She points to the spot where not long ago a cat went head to head with a foot-long poisonous green bamboo snake. The skirmish ended in a draw because a nearby observer startled the two creatures, which parted ways. But her money had been on the cat.

她指向了一块地方,不久之前,一只猫曾在这里与一条大约30厘米长的竹叶青毒蛇进行肉搏战。冲突以平局结束,因为附近的一名观察者惊动了这两个动物,使二者分道扬镳。不过,当时她已经把赌注押在了猫身上。

In the surrounding trees hang thick woody vines called Birdwood’s Mucuna. She explains that the plant’s flowers yield beans in April that can be used for soup. And there, on that very spot where a sign now stands, was once a large tree that got blown over in a typhoon.

周围的树上悬挂着茂盛的藤本植物,名字叫白花油麻藤(Birdwood’s Mucuna)。她解释说,这种植物的花在4月会结出豆子,可以用来炖汤。还有那边,那边那个立着标牌的地方本来有一棵大树,后来被台风吹倒了。

Ms. Chan is in good company. The path that morning, like all mornings, is teeming with like-minded individuals. “She’s 80,” she says pointing to one. “He’s 88,” she says of another.

陈女士还有一群好伙伴。在那条路上,那天清晨跟每一天的清晨一样,到处都是志趣相投的人。她指着一个说,“她80岁了,”又指着另一个人说,“他88岁。”

She knows them all. A woman approaching her 70s overtakes her on the way up, in a rush to fill with water a big empty jug she carries on her back. Ms. Chan explains that the climber prefers the water up the hill to the water from her own tap at home below.

她认识所有这些人。上山的路上,一个年近70的女人超过了陈女士,她背着一个空空的大水罐,正在赶去打水 。陈女士解释说,比起自家水龙头里的自来水,这个登山者更喜欢山上的泉水。

A smiling man, shirtless and with defined biceps, suddenly barrels down the hill. Ms. Chan greets him and presses a piece of candy into his hand. He’s 92.

突然,一个光着膀子、肌肉发达的男人微笑着从山上奔了下来。陈女士和他打了招呼,还把一块糖放到他手中。他已经92岁了。

Ms. Chan splashes water from a small fountain along the route onto her neck and face. Just above, in the overgrown bushes, is a small cemetery forgotten by all but her generation.

陈女士将路边一眼小泉中的水洒到自己的脖子和脸上。再往上一点,疯长的灌木丛中有一块被遗忘的小墓地,只有她这一代人还记得。

She attributes the longevity of Hong Kong women in part to good nutrition. After her morning hikes, she goes to the market to buy fish to steam and vegetables to boil or stir fry.

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她认为,香港女性的长寿部分归功于良好的营养。早上的步行之后,她会去市场买用来清蒸的鱼,以及用来煮或炒的蔬菜。

Also playing a role in her health, she says, is the pleasure she gets from socializing with others on the trail. But it is above all the exercise that is the biggest factor. She swears that she recovers faster from colds and the flu than when she was younger and more sedentary.

她说,在步行中与人们交往的愉悦,也很有益于她的健康。但在上述所有因素中,锻炼才是最重要的。她肯定地说,现在她从感冒和流感中恢复的速度,比她不太爱动的年轻时代还要快。

A few kilometers west and down at sea level is Victoria Park, the largest in the former British territory, built on reclaimed land in the 1950s.

往西几公里,下到海平面的高度,就是维多利亚公园。这是香港最大的公园,坐落在填海得来的土地上,于20世纪50年代建成。

No corner of the park is vacant in the mornings. Groups of dancers, joggers, walkers and practitioners of tai chi vie for space. Tang Shuet Pik has been coming to the same spot for 10 years for her tai chi sessions.

每天早上,这个公园的所有角落都是满的。一群群跳舞、慢跑、步行或打太极拳的人在这里争夺空间。唐世碧每天都到公园里的同一个地点打太极拳,已经持续了10年。

One morning, she slowly shifts her balance from foot to foot, both shod in bright pink shoes, and her arms sway in synch with others in her group. Traditional music streams from a small speaker in the background.

一天清晨,伴随着一个小音箱播放的传统音乐,她慢慢地移动穿着亮粉色鞋子的脚,调整身体的重心,手臂缓缓摆动,与和她一起打拳的人保持同步 。

During a break, Ms. Tang says she was a housewife when she was young but would do some sewing on the side to help support her five children. Once they and her six grandchildren grew up, she sought out company and exercise at the park.

在休息时,唐女士说她年轻时是个家庭主妇,同时也做一些缝纫的活来贴补家计,养活她的五个孩子。子女和六个孙子女长大之后,她就找到了伙伴,开始在公园里一起打太极拳。

She says tai chi helps her to walk more steadily. “Sometimes I trip but I can quickly regain balance,” she says. Another benefit: the camaraderie of the park and the group dim sum breakfasts after. “It’s about being out. Naturally it makes you happier.”

她说,太极拳令她走得更稳。“有时我会磕磕绊绊,但我很快就能恢复平衡。”她说道。太极拳的另一个好处就是公园里的同道情谊,以及随后的集体早点。“乐趣在于置身户外。它当然会让你更快乐。”

Across Hong Kong Harbor, on the mainland, Tang Yuet Lin, a retired domestic helper and cashier, has been swimming at the same beach for 40 years. But by the time she touches the water each day, she has walked 20 minutes from her home and descended 180 steps to the beach. And she has stretched for 20 minutes.

维多利亚港对面是与中国大陆相连的新界。在这里,退休家政助理及收银员唐玥琳女士已经在同一个海滩游了40年泳。不过,从家里到海边,她需要步行20分钟,走下180级台阶。而且,下水之前,她会做20分钟的伸展运动。

Ms. Tang attributes her and her peers’ longevity primarily to exercise but also to diet. She avoids eating too many mangoes and lychees, foods that are believed by many here to throw the body off balance. And when her legs are sore she drinks an herbal tea from a Chinese doctor. “It helps the body realign,” she says.

唐女士把她和伙伴们的长寿主要归功于锻炼,另外还有饮食。她不会去吃太多的芒果和荔枝,因为许多本地人都认为这类食物会令身体失去平衡。腿疼的时候,她会饮用一位中医配制的草药茶。“这有助于身体的调节。”她说。

Just one more question, since Ms. Tang seems anxious to continue her routine: Which stroke does she prefer? She laughs. Her son calls it the “snail stroke,” she says. She pulls a visor over her face to shield her skin from the rising sun and wades into the water.

看起来,唐女士对继续她的游泳程序已经迫不及待了,所以我赶紧提了最后一个问题:她喜欢哪一种泳姿?她笑了。她的儿子称之为“蜗牛泳”,她说。 她用一顶遮阳帽挡住脸,免得初升的太阳晒伤皮肤,跟着就走到了水里。

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