Tag Archive | how to get moving

Walking: In Search of Inspiration (and Free Books)

By: Emily Schnipper, Zamzee Operations + Customer Support 

In November’s newsletter, I wrote about some of the ways I’ve made my “Walks to Nowhere” more interesting.  Like a lot of suburban people, I don’t have much to walk to, but no way am I going to miss out on the benefits of walking.  As I’ve found, walking can increase your appreciation of the world around you and even boost your creativity.  (Not to mention passing many Zamzee Challengez.)

Walking with a camera is my favorite.  I’ve given myself a mission to capture the strange and beautiful things lurking in a town that I always thought was boring.  Through walking and photographing, my perspective has shifted.  I didn’t even realize until I started writing this, but I can’t honestly say that my town is boring anymore.  (Maybe I’ve also learned that boredom isn’t always such a bad thing, but that’s another story.)  My favorite discovery, without a doubt, has been the phenomenon of Little Free Libraries.  All my friends and family know my obsession with these cute, tiny houses filled with free books for kids and adults.  Check out the map on their website here.  There may be a LFL in walking distance from you.

Photo Credit: Emily Schnipper

Photo Credit: Emily Schnipper

I’ve also found that walking is one of the best ways to get ideas or break through a creative block.  If you’re struggling with homework or work-work, go on a walk if you can.  Your renewed focus will be worth the time it takes.  Something about the rhythm of walking makes it especially good for coming up with songs or poems.  Walking is something you can do in your own time, at your own pace.  When life is filled with obligations, that opportunity can be hard to find.  In an article for the The New York Times, Kate Murphy writes about people who’ve decided to walk across the US.  She calls this epic walk a spiritual quest and a way to search for meaning in life.  As people over the centuries have found, walking can speak to some deep part of ourselves that goes beyond the benefits of exercise.

EmilyTree

Even if you’re taking a short home/work break, you can tap into that tradition of walking as a way to find inspiration  A recent study at Stanford showed that while walking didn’t help people find one right answer, it did help them brainstorm more creative ideas.  Other studies have found that walking can reduce stress and anxiety, insomnia and depression.  It can improve memory (vocabulary words, anyone?), self-esteem, and energy levels. Unlike many other physical activities (weight-lifting, surfing, toe-wrestling), you probably already know how to walk safely, and have all the equipment you need.  So the next time you’re struggling with a problem in your life, see if walking might give you a bit of clarity.  I’ll see you on the sidewalks!

The Top 10 Zamzee Blog Posts of 2013

On the Zamzee blog, we document the scientific research behind Zamzee, our efforts to fulfill our mission of improving kids’ health, and fun stories and ideas about families getting active. Looking back at the most popular posts of 2013, it’s clear that Zamzee Blog readers are interested in the full spectrum of physical activity. But what’s the most popular? Here are the 10 most-read blog posts of 2013:

1.) 5 Playground Games from Around the World

Topping the charts of 2013 was a fun blog post about playground games from around the world. Look no further if you are looking for inspiration on how to spice up your kids’ backyard play: these games will have you moving, laughing, and earning mega-Pointz on your Zamzee meters!

2.) What’s the Difference Between a Pedometer, an Accelerometer and a Zamzee?

The second most popular blog post of 2013 was a short and sweet piece explaining the difference between pedometers, accelerometers and a Zamzee. If you’re new to Zamzee and activity trackers in general, this post is a great starting point for understanding more about your options for tracking your physical activity.

3.) Using Technology to Modernize Physical Education (P.E.)

A personal favorite of the Zamzee staff, this guest blog post by Cindy Sisson Hensley takes a look ahead at how technology can transform physical education to make school P.E. more engaging for today’s kids. 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

It’s Finally Here! Introducing “Zamzee for Groups”

The wait is over, and we can finally tell you what’s been happening behind-the-scenes lately at Zamzee!

Zamzee_for_Groups

For the past 6 months, Zamzee has been developing a robust group program to help you manage, measure and motivate physical activity. After piloting this program extensively with healthcare and school partners, it’s finally ready to be released to the public – to you!

So what is it? Zamzee for Groups is designed to get kids and their parents physically active, and to give program leaders tools to optimize the Zamzee experience for their participants.

Group Leaders can manage physical activity through the Group Dashboard, which is exclusive to Zamzee for Groups. They can set up reports to organize classes and sub-groups in their Dashboard. With accurate movement data at their fingertips, leaders can have evidence-backed conversations with kids about their real physical activity habits and how to get moving. Of course, all Zamzee for Groups participants get Zamzee meters and access to Zamzee’s award-winning motivational website, which is designed to make moving fun. Continue reading

Can Adults Use Zamzee?

Jeff and his kids taking a walk last weekend.

Jeff and his kids taking a walk last weekend.

Hi Team Zamzee,

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much Zamzee has helped me change my life. A few minutes ago I ordered the Xbox reward after the last few months of busting my butt to earn the Zamz for it. It was a great motivator for me, and Zamzee will continue to be a great source of motivation for me and my family.

As of this morning, I’ve lost 39.8 pounds since getting my meter. I still have a long way to go to be “fit,” but I’m well on my way…and it’s largely thanks to you and that little blue meter. I spend the better part of 2-3 hours per day walking now. Time that I used to spend in front of the TV or computer is now spent doing challenges. I have more energy, my fat clothes don’t fit any more, and my wife is finding me more handsome every day! 🙂 Continue reading

Using Technology to Get Kids Active

Technology is a big part of kids’ lives these days, from the classroom to playtime. But the digital revolution hasn’t yet become mainstream in kids’ sports and exercise. Especially for kids who don’t like moving, you have to wonder: could there be a better way to use technology to inspire kids to get active?

Right now, youth exercise is pretty closely correlated with traditional youth sports teams. That makes sense because, in the United States, 75% of boys and 69% of girls play organized sports. But what about those other kids, the 25% of boys and 31% of girls who don’t participate in sports teams? Right now, we don’t have many good options to cater to these kids and get them moving. Moreover, even if a kid participates in sports when they are younger, they don’t always stick with the team when they get older. This video by the Women’s Sports Foundation makes a compelling and scary case for why girls, in particular, keep leaving the game.

Continue reading