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Middle School with Zamzee

By Timothy NguyenTim

My affiliation with Zamzee began roughly in 2011, when the Zamzee team made an appearance at my middle school. I was in 8th grade back then and the idea of an activity tracker that measures your steps intrigued me, as I was unfamiliar with idea to begin with. The enthusiasm of the Zamzee team and their persuasion quickly whipped me on board, and before you know it, the meter was on the way to my doorstep.

At first, my P.E. teacher challenged the class to see who can earn the most points, and I believe that it was the challenge that really got me going on the device. Later on, I ended up winning the competition, and ever since then, the Zamzee meter hasn’t left my side. Many of my friends commented about the device, and I gladly explained to them how it encourages you to get active. I practically wore it everyday to school and to the gym whenever vacation came around. At the gym, I was quickly remembered because I had the meter on: I stood out.

What encouraged me the most about the Zamzee meter was the accomplishments one could achieve. I always became excited when I earned a new badge, and that factor is what drove me to stay dedicated to the meter. Moreover, other than the obtainable badges, their challenges were another prime factor that kept me dedicated. From my standpoint, I thought it was a fabulous idea that one can earn tangible rewards from physical activity. Challenge after challenge, I pushed myself to earn enough Zamz for a product I wanted. That drive eventually led me to earn enough Zamz to purchase Yurbuds from BestBuy, which I proudly use every single day, and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful. It was because of this drive for accomplishment that I found myself pushing my limit of physical activity. There was even one point where I found myself exercising within my house, something I would never find myself doing because of how small my house is. But I was doing it, because of the Zamzee meter. Continue reading

My Zamzee Experience

by Ryan Scheller

photoMy name is Ryan and I am 25 years old. I love to play all kinds of games.

I found out about Zamzee from HopeLab, and have used it for about four months. How do I know about HopeLab? I helped HopeLab create the game Re-Mission2.

I found Zamzee to be helpful in my recovery from cancer because it encouraged me to get up and moving. The device is easy to use, just put it in your pocket and plug it into the flash drive of your computer at the end of the day. The Zamzee will then upload your progress into your account.

Zamzee users can accumulate points two ways. First, Pointz are given on a daily basis, based on just how active the user is during the day. But the other reward system is called Zamz. Zamz are like dollars and are accumulated by doing special challenges that last from five minutes to one hour. The trick is that they need to be done right away, as soon as you click the “bring it” button. Earning Zamz allows the user to purchase a huge selection of items, ranging from costumes for the user’s avatar all the way up to an Xbox One for 56,000 Zamz.  Continue reading

My Son’s Complex Congenital Heart Defect and Zamzee

Bobby_hiking

By Trish Whitehouse

My son Bobby is now 13 years old. He was born with a complex congenital heart defect, which means it wasn’t “just” a hole that would close on its own, or a murmur. It was a big deal. Our heart has 4 working chambers, 2 atria, a R and a L, which bring blood into the big pumping chambers underneath them. Those two bottom chambers, called ventricles, are responsible for pumping blood all over the entire body. The R ventricle pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, and the L ventricle, the stronger and bigger of the two, pumps that blood to the entire body for us to use so we can move and eat and sleep and function.

When Bobby’s heart was developing, for some unknown reason, his L ventricle didn’t form properly. That’s the bigger, most important one. Essentially, his left ventricle is useless. About 15 or 20 years ago, these babies used to be called “blue babies” and they were comforted while eventually over a few hours or a few days, they decompensated and died. We’re very lucky that Bobby was born at time where that was not our only option.

Bobby went through a series of palliative surgeries. They can’t cure or fix his heart, but they can make it work for as long as possible. I’m told by his cardiologist that these kids do very well and live healthy lives well into adulthood. I don’t ask for much more than that anymore, because that’s all I really want to hear. The only limitation he has is for him to “self limit”– meaning that he should pay attention to his own body to guide him for exercise.

Exercise is about the best thing kids with a single ventricle can do to keep their hearts healthy. But for a lot of parents, it’s the one thing they dread watching their kids do. The kids turn out to be what we nurses call “cardiac cripples,” meaning the kids aren’t allowed to exert themselves. As a result, these kids live in fear of doing ANYTHING.

Bobby_SwimmingWe are a family of intense competitive athletes, and it’s lucky for Bobby that he was born into this family. Although exercise is not easy for Bobby, we find ways to encourage him to do it. He huffs and puffs going up a flight of stairs and he bikes but he has to go slow. He swims on a team but he has to swim with kids half his age because he can’t keep up with the teenager. Because of all the months of critical care in the hospital following complications from the surgeries, he’s not that coordinated. He plays soccer in school, but he basically watches the ball go by and then he’ll trot after it for a little bit, but he lets the “real athletes” kick it around the field. It’s kind of sad to watch. Who am I kidding, it’s horrible to watch. Every mother wants their kid to make that winning shot, just once, or to at least give the opponent a run for their money. Literally. Continue reading

My Kids Before and After Zamzee

By Andrew Kardon, from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Zamzee_FamilyI have pretty well rounded kids. They spend equal time playing Mario, Sonic, Minecraft and Plants vs. Zombies.

Yep, before I discovered Zamzee, my kids were videogame-oholics. My wife and I would occasionally drag the kids outside to play, take a walk or go for a bike ride. And every time, it was as painful as taking them to the dentist. All that whining, kicking and screaming. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to encourage them to stop hating anything that involved physical activity.

And then I introduced them to Zamzee.

This thing was apparently created for kids just like mine. They already were big fans of websites like Club Penguin, where you get to customize characters, earn points and “buy” all sorts of virtual items for your character. So when I showed my boys what Zamzee can do, they didn’t miss a beat.

“Look, daddy. I can get a dog for my guy!” Ryan said enthusiastically.

The avatars, badges and points you earn (and can spend) got both my boys hooked immediately. I swear, the first time we said we’d try it out, I never saw my kids get their shoes on so fast. Continue reading

How Rewards Made Physical Activity a Habit – Zamzee User Interview

Ilan earned 18,000 Zamz to get a Wii!

Ilan moved enough to earn 18,000 Zamz and get a Wii!

One of the most exciting parts about getting a new Zamzee is the realization that you can earn a free Wii or Xbox by collecting Zamz. Rewards are a crucial part of Zamzee’s game design to get kids moving. This type of extrinsic motivation inspires kids to make a behavior change and kickstarts their physical activity. As they work towards their extrinsic reward (whether it’s a small plush toy or a Wii), Zamzee fosters kids’ intrinsic motivation by making moving fun and social. The end result is kids get in the habit of being physically active. It’s an approach grounded in Deci and Ryan’s theory of behavior change and HopeLab’s research on Zamzee, which is why we know it works.

All that being said, every now and then it’s nice to meet a real user that’s benefited from Zamze. Ilan C., a Zamzee user from Greenfield Hebrew Academy, is the latest Zamzee user to receive a Wii for all his moving. We interviewed Ilan and his parents to find out just how Ilan earned a Wii, and how you can, too!

Zamzee: Hi Ilan! Congratulations on getting a Wii! Tell us, how long were you working towards earning the Wii?

Ilan: I was working toward the Wii for about 6 months.

Zamzee: Wow! That is a really long time and a LOT of moving! How did you stay active to earn enough Zamz?

Ilan: I did baseball, football and I rode my bike, took walks and ran too. My favorite activities are playing outside with my dad and riding my bike.

Zamzee: How does it feel to have earned the Wii after 6 months of moving? Continue reading

Greenfield Hebrew Academy Reaches a Million Minutes of Activity with Zamzee!

GHA_and_Zamzee
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Getting My Kids Active (Adventure #4: Tennis)

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

My kids have never liked sports. Over the years, we’ve tried a few like T-ball, basketball and soccer. The outcome is always the same: sooner or later, the boys want to give up. Which puts my wife and me in a difficult position. We want our kids to be active (playing Nintendo Wii doesn’t really count). But how can we convince our kids to stay in the game?

This year we decided to sign the boys up for weekly tennis lessons at a local club. It was actually just going to be the two of them, along with two of their friends. One instructor to four kids. It sounded like a great opportunity. Except nothing ever goes according to plan.

tennis_zamzee

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