Move over, Siri and Google Assistant, there's a new A.I. in town and her name is Alexa. Well, not new, exactly (the Amazon Alexa has actually been around since November of 2014) but the digital personal assistant is quickly transitioning from a rare novelty to a more mainstream technology. Surveys have found that ownership of Alexa has grown by more than 70 percent in less than a year.
Alexa, which powers devices like the Echo, Echo Show, Tap and Dot, is a woman of many talents. Not only can she track sports stats, adjust your home's thermostat and manage your Google calendar, but she can also help you get and stay fit. While you can't instruct her to do your workout for you (pity), Alexa offers plenty of fun, futuristic ways to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan.
SparkPeople member JB122383 discovered the power of Alexa on New Year's Day: "I started with doing the ‘7-Minute Workout’ on the Echo Dot. I had to make some modifications due to knee issues, but I did the whole seven minutes. If you have Alexa, you should try exercising with her! It was fun!"
To get the most out of this faceless phenomenon, you'll want to download the Alexa app. From there, you can add "skills" to expand the digital assistant's features. There are thousands of free skills available, some of which come directly from Amazon and others that are released by third-party developers.
30 Alexa Skills to Help You Get—and Stay—Healthy
How has Alexa—or any other technology—helped you become more fit and healthy? Are there any other types of skills you’d like to see, but haven’t been able to find?
- Nutrition Label: "Alexa, how many calories are in a piece of pizza?" Whether you're meal-prepping or planning to eating at a restaurant, you can use this skill to quickly find the fat, calories, carbohydrate and protein content of nearly any food.
- Fitness Guru: Simply choose upper body, lower body or core, and the Fitness Guru will guide you through exercises and poses to sculpt and strengthen the target area.
- Save the Food: How long do avocados stay fresh? Should you refrigerate asparagus? Save the Food answers these and countless other food storage questions. "This is going to save me the time of going back to the grocery store so frequently, and the money spent on getting the same things every week without storing them properly," one user raves.
- Breathe Therapy: Use this skill to recharge, de-stress and increase oxygen levels. "This app is perfect for helping you relax and unwind!" says one reviewer. "I love how it guides you through the breathing exercises."
- Sweet Dreams: Sounds and Meditations for Sleep: Lack of quality sleep can hinder your weight-loss goals. This skill features relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep faster and meditation programs to help clear your mind.
- Health Facts: We can all use some extra motivation to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Health Facts provides interesting information to help you choose the right combination of nutritious foods.
- 5-Minute Plank Workout: Bored with the basic plank? This quick-and-effective workout steps you through a series of plank variations that work the core, glutes and hamstrings while improving balance and posture.
- Water Log: Tell Alexa how much water you're drinking throughout the day and Water Log will track the running total.
- Go Hiking: Use this skill to find hikes based on your location, desired length and type of environment.
- Is Paleo? On a Paleo diet and wondering if a certain food or ingredient is acceptable or off-limits? Just ask Alexa! This skill has more than 700 items in its database.
- Good Morning, Beautiful: Start each day with a sweet and simple positive affirmation.
- ALOP Pilates Class: If you've got a mat, 10 to 20 minutes and this Alexa skill, you've got an instant Pilates class.
- Healthy Habit: Simply tell Alexa to open this skill and she'll deliver a healthy habit to adopt for that day.
- My Workouts: The next best thing to a personal trainer, this skill creates custom workouts tailored to your fitness level and goals, then steps you through each exercise with energizing music.
- Healthy Snack Tips: When time is tight and cravings creep in, use this skill to get tips on making healthier snacking choices.
- 7-Minute Workout: This popular skill serves up bite-sized workouts designed to burn fat, reduce stress and boost energy and metabolism.
- Fitness Facts: Distract yourself from those tempting cravings and grueling workouts with interesting fitness facts. Great for when you’re trying to impress your new gym buddies after your rowing class.
- Yoga Buddy: Alexa turns your living room into a personal yoga studio—choose beginner, intermediate or advanced.
- Sergeant Tabata: Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training that consists of eight rounds of 20-second exercise sessions followed by 10-second rest periods. Sergeant Tabata tells you when to work and when to rest.
- Stop, Breathe and Think: Each day, this relaxation-focused skill offers a new meditation between three and 10 minutes long.
- H20-Pal: Enter and monitor your water intake with the sound of your voice.
- Healthy Diet Trivia: Test and build your nutrition knowledge with this fun, interactive nutrition trivia game.
- Recipe Remix: Who doesn't want to cook and cavort at the same time? Recipe Remix reads you delicious recipes step by step, while also playing energizing music to keep you cheerful while you chop.
- Sugarmate: Diabetics can use Alexa to track their latest glucose readings from the Dexcom G5 glucose monitoring system.
- One Rep Max: Alexa will help you find your one-rep max for any weight-lifting exercise, so you can keep challenging yourself to grow stronger.
- Fitness Motivation Quote: When the couch beckons and you're tempted to skip your workout, get a dose of encouragement with a hand-picked motivational quote.
- Stretcher: If you're stretching-challenged, this skill serves up some easy stretches to do before and after specific activities.
- Random Workout: Mix it up with impromptu workouts that will keep your muscles—and your mind—guessing.
- My Dermatologist: Ask Alexa about the UV index and forecast to help you protect your skin properly each day.
- Daily Pledge: Take a moment each day to focus on your wellness by taking a new pledge for self-improvement.