Thursday, June 29, 2017

Actively revisiting Papakura—and more

Today I had some errands to run in Takanini, so I stopped first in Papakura for a wander. I last spent time walking around the business area back in October 2009, so I was interested to see how things have changed. The short answer: Not very much.

When I was there in 2009, I commented on the number of discount stores and second hand shops, and also that “many shops on the streets were … empty.” If anything, there were more empty shopfronts now than then, including the very large McDonald’s, which was abandoned and behind chain-link security fencing after they built a new one well down the road, in an area where shoppers travel by car far more than by foot. There were still several national retailers, but far fewer of nearly everything else.

On the other hand, graffiti seemed to be under much better control now, something that had been a real problem back in 2009. In fact, one unusual place I found graffiti back then was completely clean this year (there’s a photo in that 2009 post). The main shopping area seemed cleaner, if less active and with fewer shops.

The two streetscape photos I posted back in 2009 look pretty much the same now, though some shops are gone or changed to different ones. Traffic was a little heavier, too—with cars passing through, as I normally do, on the way to and from Takanini.

My visit to Papakura wasn’t just to revist a place I’d been before: I went to go to two op shops (charity re-sale shops) because I had this idea that I could refurbish/upcycle an old dining chair as a desk chair. But the two shops I visited had very little furniture, and both shops were actually pretty depressing and shabby. I can’t imagine I’ll ever go back.

I then went to Takanini, which was my actual destination today. I went there because I needed closet shelving from Bunnings Warehouse (an Australian-owned hardware/home centre chain), and that was the closest branch. While I was in the area, I went to the local Warehouse Stationery for the first time (quite small, but a nice shop), and also the local Warehouse (a very nice store, but, like most of them these days, with very long queues of customers because it seems like none of the locations ever have enough people running the cash registers; this is the single biggest reason why I don’t go to The Warehouse—that, and the fact that many of the products they carry have become noticeably cheaper in quality—definitely not all, but the difference is enough to notice).

After that, I did the grocery shopping at the Countdown there, which is a very nice store—and nearly the same layout and look and feel as Pukekohe’s, the one I normally go to. Both stores could use brighter lighting, nice though they otherwise are.

I then headed home before school let out for the day, so I had a good run. But after all the walking around, I was pretty pooped by the time I got home. On the other hand, I know that all this activity was good for me—and it was recorded.

The photo up top is of my Apple Watch a little while ago. All three rings exceeded the targets for today, which is great—and a little unusual. The red outer ring is my “Move” goal, and measures my active time in terms of kilojoules burned, in this case, 2528kj of the current daily target of 1680kj, or 151% of today’s goal (that’s apparently about 604 and 401 calories, respectively). The next ring, the green one, measures actual exercise time, in this case, 35 minutes, or 116%, of my 30-minute daily goal. Exercise is mainly walking reasonably fast, but going up and down stairs (as I do several times a day) doesn’t count (it’s also possible to get exercise time counted merely by waving one’s hand/arm vigorously which, to be fair, actually IS exercise, though it seems like cheating to me). The innermost, blue, ring measures standing time, in this case, for five minutes in each of 15 hours out of a daily goal of five minutes in each of twelve hours, which is 125% of my daily goal. My watch tells me all that.

Personally, I don’t think these measures are particularly useful by themselves, particularly because it also tells me that this amounts to 7,212 steps covering 5.81km (3.6 miles), which doesn’t sound very active to me, so I can’t quite grasp the correlation between those numbers and what's on those rings rings.

However, the good thing for me is that it gives me something to shoot for every day and, because I can be competitive, I want to meet or beat my daily targets. One has to start somewhere.

The Apple watch also measures my heartbeat frequently during the day, and most of the time the watch is actually reasonably accurate. As I adjust to various medication, this is useful information.

So, today was an active day, revisiting a place I haven’t wandered around in many years, shopping at others places, and exceeding exercise goals for the day. Today was a good day.


Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I do, too. And I also have a pedometer (with flat battery…) and an App for my phone that counts steps (never used). But doctors have always stressed to me it's not about "achievements" (like specific number of steps), but rather about consistency and exceeding minimums.

Here in NZ, the government used to promote "Hit Play Five Days a Week" in order to get people active for 30 minutes of "moderate" activity five days a week. It failed miserably because, probably all active people themselves, it never occurred to them that it sounded like a job to ordinary people, something one has to commit to just like a job. People didn't want to start because they knew they were set up to fail.

There's also the problem that adults 30-50—their target market—are time poor, between work and family commitments, and, here in Auckland, VERY long commute times spent sitting in a car. The government was asking people to give up 30 minutes a day to exercise, but from where? A commute is what it is, nothing anyone can do about that. Employers won't give someone 30 minute to go exercise (and these days even lunch breaks may be spent working, and for others, the rest is vital). So, they should take 30 minutes away from their time with families?!

The government still urges people people to be active that much, but much of the marketing simply urges people to be active "most days", which is a little more vague, and so, less likely to make people avoid starting to they can avoid failure.

What annoys me about all this is that on the one hand we have the government hectoring people to be more active, and on the other we have people on social media shaming people for not being active enough.

My view is that we should give everyone the facts and leave them to it. In Auckland, until the crap public transport system is fast and efficient and, well, there, they're all dreaming if they think they're going to encourage (or coerce or shame…) masses of people to become significantly more active.

The slogan was cute, though.

rogerogreen said...

I know people who swear by their step numbers, especially as they (hopefully) increase

rogerogreen said...

Ah, just saw this: http://www.dustbury.com/archives/24586 Obesity Policy Coalition.surveyed 186 packaged foods with cartoons or character promotions designed to attract children. It found 52 per cent were classified as unhealthy by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion calculator.