January is basically an entire month of “the Mondays.” The holidays are over, you’re back at work, it’s still cold and dark, and you’re left with nothing but a slight deficit in your bank account and a little extra belly fat. Ugh.
Holiday weight gain affects plenty of people, which is why it’s no surprise losing weight was 2017’s most popular resolution.
But since 92 percent of resolutions fail, the odds of actually sticking to your health goals this year are pretty slim. However, if you happened to be one of the lucky people gifted with an Alexa-enabled device for Christmas (or you bought one for yourself), your chances of success might just be a little higher.
Alexa gives you to access a variety of voice apps called skills that connect you to tons of information and tips from across the web. And many of them focus on health and wellness.
Here are six skills you can use to turn Alexa into a digital personal trainer.
1. 7-Minute Workout
Burn fat and get your heart pumping in short intervals with the 7-Minute Workout. To start, tell Alexa “Start 7-Minute Workout.” Then, get ready to sweat for 420 seconds as you move through effective and efficient exercises to help you reach your goals.
It’s recommended that adults get 75 vigorous or 150 moderate minutes of exercise per week, so 10 to 22 sessions per week is all you need to hit that requirement. And if you do this workout in the morning, you can also try Alexa’s musical alarms to help you get ready.
Did you know that when you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty? The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends drinking 91 to 125 ounces of water daily, so it’s important to stay on top of your water intake.
Some people, along with their calorie counter and fitness apps, choose to monitor their water intake with a digital assistant. H2O-Pal syncs with Amazon Alexa so you can simply ask your digital personal assistant how much water you’ve had that day. The skill also integrates with Fitbit so you can easily add your water intake to the rest of your fitness tracking routine.
By using a water-tracking app, you can more easily stick to your New Year’s diet by keeping up on your water intake to feel full and satiated. With all the sweating you’re planning on doing, this skill could also play a big role in keeping you hydrated during challenging workouts.
3. Track by Nutritionix
Track by Nutritionix helps you monitor your caloric intake. You can tell Alexa what you ate and add it to your daily log. You can even ask questions like how many calories are in a bowl of cereal. Counting calories this way only provides a rough estimate, but it will still help you become more aware of what you’re eating so you can stay on track with your weight loss and dietary goals.
Cooking more meals for yourself could take up an entire New Year’s resolution in and of itself. Only 45 percent of millennials think of themselves as good at cooking, even though 80 percent think cooking at home is a good practice.
Home-cooked meals are an important part of a healthy diet — all you need are some good recipes. Allrecipes created an Alexa skill that makes it easy to find healthy recipes to help you stick to your diet and keep your resolution. If you’re in the mood for something with chicken, for example, just ask Alexa for chicken recipes and she will respond with some good options. The skill also offers vegan and vegetarian recipes if you need them. You could also use a few hacks to make standard recipes fit your dietary restrictions if none of the vegan/vegetarian options sound appealing.
5. My Health Coach
It’s hard to diet and exercise alone. If you need a boost, use My Health Coach to get wellness-focused living tips and suggestions. This allows you to ask Alexa important questions about your health goals, like how many miles you’d have to run to burn off that extra glass of wine after dinner.
This skill comes packed with information; the more you learn about your body, the more you’ll be able to stick to your resolution for a healthier you.
6. Yoga Studio
If heart-pumping, high-intensity cardio isn’t for you, don’t throw in the towel. Instead, you could try a more mindful form of exercise with an app like Yoga Studio. Use Alexa to walk (er, talk) you through guided meditation and yoga sets ranging from 10 to 60 minutes to accommodate your daily schedule and needs.
New Year’s resolutions can be tough to keep, but with some extra effort and a little digital help, the odds just might be in your favor.
Elaine Thompson is a freelancer writer whose work focuses on consumer technology, automation, and sustainability.