How to make Alexa smarter: best health and fitness skills (updated March 2020)
Updated: Feb 10
With the total number of skills approaching the 100K mark, it can be hard to know what exactly Alexa Skills store has in store (ha!) for you. In the myriad of built-in capabilities, we decided this is as good of a time as any to pay attention to the Health & Fitness category and get your body moving.
The pairing of health and technology makes for one potent mix, especially when it’s delivered by the closest thing you can get to personal health assistant. There are more than 1,000 skills in this particular category, but we’ve wound down the selection to select few skills we think are worthy of your time.
Baby Stats will likely be a gem for parents who also want to cover every base – your typical dataheads. The skill offers a somewhat analytical approach to monitoring baby growth where you can track different things: stool, feedings, sleep, and a lot more. There are iOS and Android mobile apps, and an online viewer on the skill’s official website to help out with the visual part of tracking.
The commands might be a tad difficult (“Alexa, ask Baby Stats to ____”) and will likely take some time to get used to but the skill does a great job of presenting an innovative and effective way of monitoring a newborn’s most basic patterns. Who doesn’t want a handsfree method to record and track these tiny details when taking care of the little one?
The odd one in the bunch, Hypno Therapist is the brainchild of Barry Thain, a clinical hypnotist with more than 25 years of experience. If you’re up for some experimentation and looking to try something new and fairly unknown, this is it.
The free version offers six full therapies wrapped in an interesting format. Many attribute faster falling asleep to this hypnotherapy skill but there’s also a certain relaxation side at play here. As for the effects of hypnosis and the extent of it working – you’ll have to tell us!
Mayo Clinic First Aid skill is a great and reputable source of information for non-threatening first aid scenarios that require your hands to be free. The skill provides “self-care instructions for dozens of everyday mishaps and other situations” – for instance when you have a paper cut or trying to help someone else.
Acting like an FAQ of sorts, there’s also a learning side to it, like situations involving proper CPR. Naturally, no skill can replace actual medical advice and/or assistance and Mayo Clinic First Aid makes that clear but so should you.
Nutrition is a key part of a healthy body so why not ask Alexa about better nutrition too? My Better Nutrition simplifies access to a wealth of information online regarding diet, supplements, and everything else related to nutrition. Professional dietician Ashley Koff provides tips, product recommendations, and healthy recipes in an informative way that will help you choose better foods, drinks, and supplements.
One of the best parts of this skill is its goal to provide better options (hence the title) instead of focusing on being perfect. By focusing on more suitable alternatives, you can learn quick and easy tips and follow a program that will lead you to your wellness goals without obsessing about the right amount of anything. Also, daily health tips are a great way to stay focused on your body’s nutritional needs.
Similarly, try out Track by Nutritionix for various nutritional information on different types of food.
When looking for best Alexa fitness skills, chances are you’ll run into some kind of workout skills. There’s plenty of choices here and if we had to pick one, it would be My Workout. The main reason why is because it lets you create custom workouts specifically designed to meet your fitness level and goals.
Alternatively, you can let Alexa pick a workout for you. You will be guided through the workouts on a step-by-step basis in order to correctly perform each exercise. Each exercise is accompanied by an inspirational tune for additional motivation. The skill also keeps track of your starting weight and other useful metrics for a complete progress report on your way to a slimmer you.
My Workouts is a great option for those looking to work up a good sweat that as closely fit personal needs as possible. There’s no doubt Alexa can be a dependable workout partner as there is no shortage of engaging and demanding workout regimens so be sure to check these along the way:
Among various Alexa health skills, myNursebot is lauded for the fact it acts as a medical assistant for people dealing with persistent health conditions. It tracks medications and symptoms, as well as visits to the doctor and physical vitals. The main idea, aimed at both users and caregivers, is to simplify personal health management by easing the load.
myNursebot does a pretty good job of helping out with important details through an interactive element. It’s not perfect (no skill can ever be with this type of help) but at least it will make a doctor appreciate you actually have a record, right?
There are quite a few sleep trackers available in the form of an Alexa skill as everybody knows the importance of a good night’s sleep. Our pick is Sleep Right, a rather simple way to get organized about your sleep.
The skill has a limited number of options, focusing on three ways you can use it: by choosing an ideal bedtime, setting the best time to wake up, and essentially combining the two with Alexa making a recommendation. And that’s it – pretty simple and effective.
It sounds silly at first, but Toothbrush Timer can actually be helpful in maintaining your oral hygiene. During the recommended 2 minutes of brushing, Alexa will tell you to change to different parts of your mouth every 30 seconds. The skill is simple and has the potential to create that important habit – you can’t ask for anything more than that.
Need help in managing your diabetes? Not only does Sugarmate read out your most recent blood sugar levels, but it also tells you in which direction your glucose levels are going and when was the last time you checked them. If you have a display device like an Echo Show or Spot you can also receive a graph of your latest readings.
For this skill to work, you only need to have a Dexcom CGM, one of the most popular diabetes devices around. The setup process is easy and you will be guided through all the steps. Sugarmate is the perfect addition to the glucose monitoring system, providing essential information in situations when you aren’t able or simply don’t want to use your phone.
As with most meditation and mindfulness oriented skills, Guided Meditation is designed to reduce the stress and anxiety of daily life. Unlike some, it does that very well. This award-winning skill will provide you each day a new mediation that’s up to 9 minutes long, and with over 70 meditations in store, there’s no risk of the skill getting repetitive fast.
Types of mediation vary, from short(er) breathing exercises to meditations that help you sleep. If you don’t like the current playing meditation, you can just skip to the next one. If you’re looking to incorporate meditation into your routine, cope with everyday stress or just to relax a little bit, try Guided Meditation. For those of you keeping track, we included a similar skill called Headspace in our roundup of best productivity skills for Alexa, but we feel this one also deserves a mention.
11. Make Me Smile
As the saying goes “a smile a day keeps worries away”, smiling and generally having positive energy will do wonders for you. Make Me Smile will try to do just that – and fairly often succeed – whenever you’re feeling down, depressed or unhappy.
12. Ask My Buddy
An immensely helpful skill, Ask My Buddy is particularly designed for those who suffer from health issues and need someone to help them (although even if you are perfectly healthy, it’s a good skill to have as you never know when you might need help).
First, you’ll need to choose who will be your contacts in the case of an emergency. After that, depending on if you want to call one or all of your contacts, just say “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to alert <Contact Name>” or “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to send help.” When you do that, Ask My Buddy will immediately send an alert, notifying your contact(s) to check on you right away. Alerts will be sent by a text message, email, and a voice telephone call.
Ask My Buddy can also be used as a check-in tool. For instance, if you want to let your family know that you are doing ok or that you safely returned home, just say “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to check in with <Contact Name> or you can check in with all of your contacts at once. It just goes to show that as accessibility goes in similar scenarios, you can’t match voice.
When you ask Alexa to make you smile, it will cheer you up by providing a happy or surprising fact. It might even make you laugh through an occasional joke. This is a very simple yet effective skill and if you just need something to brighten up your day or seek reasons to feel hopeful and happy, this is worth a try.
Thus our list concludes. We’ll be adding new skills every month so check back and let us know if you found what you’re looking for!
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