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  • The constant thud underneath your feet.


  • The constrained space.


  • And the monotony of going nowhere fast.


  • It feels like hours have gone by, but it's only been eleven minutes.

    這感覺就像已經過了很多個小時,但其實只有 11 分鐘。

  • And you wonder, "Why am I torturing myself"?


  • This thing has got to be considered a "cruel and unusual punishment".


  • Actually, that's exactly what it is, or was.


  • You see, in the 1800s, treadmills were created to punish English prisoners.

    在 19 世紀時,跑步機是英國發明用來懲罰犯人的。

  • At the time, the English prison system was abysmally bad.


  • Execution and deportation were often the punishments of choice, and those who were locked away faced hours of solitude in filthy cells.


  • So social movements led by religious groups, philanthropies, and celebrities, like Charles Dickens, sought to change these dire conditions and help reform the prisoners.


  • When their movement succeeded, entire prisons were remodeled and new forms of rehabilitation, such as the treadmill, were introduced.


  • Here's how the original version, invented in 1818 by English engineer Sir William Cubitt, worked.

    在 1818 年,英國工程師威廉.丘比特先生發明的跑步機原型是這樣運作的。

  • Prisoners stepped on 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel.

    犯人們踩在大槳輪的 24 根輻條上。

  • As the wheel turned, the prisoner was forced to keep stepping up or risk falling off, similar to modern stepper machines.


  • Meanwhile, the rotation made gears pump out water, crush grain, or power mills, which is where the name "treadmill" originated.

    同時,運轉使齒輪打出水、壓碎稻穀,或提供鋼廠動力,這就是名為「treadmill (又踏又磨)」的緣由。

  • These devices were seen as a fantastic way of whipping prisoners into shape, and that added benefit of powering mills, helped to rebuild a British economy decimated by the Napoleonic Wars.


  • It was a win for all concerned, except the prisoners.


  • It's estimated that, on average, prisoners spent six or so hours a day on treadmills, the equivalent of climbing 5,000 to 14,000 feet.

    據估計,平均而言,犯人每天花六小時左右在跑步機上,等同攀登 5,000 到 14,000 英呎。

  • 14,000 feet is roughly Mount Everest's halfway point.

    14,000 英呎大致是珠穆朗瑪峰的中間點。

  • Imagine doing that five days a week with little food.


  • Cubitt's idea quickly spread across the British Empire and America.


  • Within a decade of its creation, over 50 English prisons boasted a treadmill, and America, a similar amount.

    在發明不到十年的時間裡,超過 50 所英國監獄以擁有跑步機感到驕傲,美國也有差不多的數量。

  • Unsurprisingly, the exertion combined with poor nutrition saw many prisoners suffer breakdowns and injuries.


  • Not that prison guards seemed to care.


  • In 1824, New York prison guard James Hardie credited the device with taming his more boisterous inmates, writing that the "monotonous steadiness, and not its severity...constitutes its terror," a quote many still agree with.

    1824 年,紐約監獄長 James Hardie 將馴服這些吵鬧的囚犯的功勞歸功於跑步機,他這樣記錄:「比起疲累,真正造成它恐怖的是無止盡的單調與乏味。」現在許多人也同意他的想法。

  • And treadmills lasted in England until the late 19th century.

    跑步機在英國持續到 19 世紀末。

  • When they were banned for being excessively cruel under the Prison's Act of 1898.

    根據 1898 年的監獄法案,跑步機因為過於殘忍而被禁止。

  • But of course the torture device returned with a vengeance, this time targeting the unsuspecting public.


  • In 1911, a treadmill patent was registered in the U.S.

    1911 年,一台跑步機專利註冊於美國。

  • And by 1952, the forerunner for today's modern treadmill had been created.

    而到 1952 年,市場先驅者已經建立了現在我們見到的跑步機。

  • When the jogging craze hit the U.S. in the 1970s.

    慢跑熱潮在 1970 年代襲捲美國。

  • The treadmill was thrust back into the limelight as an easy and convenient way to improve aerobic fitness, and lose unwanted pounds.


  • Which, to be fair, it's pretty good at doing.


  • And the machine has maintained its popularity since.


  • So the next time you voluntarily subject yourself to what was once a cruel and unusual punishment, just be glad you can control when you'll hop off.


The constant thud underneath your feet.


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B2 中高級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 跑步機 犯人 英國 站上 殘忍

【TED-Ed】跑步機的黑暗史 (The treadmill's dark and twisted past - Conor Heffernan)

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