If you received one of Amazon's Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo or Echo Dot, or the new Google Home for the holidays, you may be wondering how to get the most out of your fancy new voice-activated speaker—besides setting alarms, asking for the time, or checking the weather. (All simple yet game-changing functions, by the way, especially when you want to know how much you need to bundle up for that outdoor run!) Here, all the ways you can use your cool new device to reach your health, fitness, or mindfulness resolutions.
Take a guided 7-minute workout. Just say "start 7-Minute Workout," and you'll be guided through the famous metabolism-boosting, fat-burning routine. You can also take breaks as you need them, and let Alexa know when you're ready to begin the next exercise.
Check in on your Fitbit stats. If you own a Fitbit but forget to check your stats in the app, Alexa lets you easily check in on your progress and stay motivated. Ask Alexa for an update on the info you care most about, including whether you reached your sleep or step goals.
Order workout gear from Amazon Prime. Need a new foam roller or some dumbbells to crush our January #PersonalBest workout? Alexa will give you recommendations of what to buy, how much it costs, and then (if you have Amazon Prime) you can have Alexa place the order for you. (Although, if your resolution is to save money in 2017, use this function wisely!)
For Google Home:
Plan your walk or bike route. While you can ask Google for traffic info for driving, if you're trying to be more active this year, you can also use the device's integration with Maps to find out how long it will take you to bike to brunch or walk to work (or any other destination you ask Google for!).
Ask what workouts are on your calendar. If you use Google Cal (we highly recommend the newly updated "Goals" function to stay on top of your training plan or other fitness-related resolutions), you can simply ask Google what's on your calendar and it will give you a rundown of your day, including the weather and any appointments or workouts you have coming up. (With any luck, you'll never forget about a 7 a.m. spin class again!) If you have an Amazon device, you can get the same benefits by linking your Google account in the Alexa app.
Watch workout videos from YouTube: If you have a Google Home and a Chromecast you can say, "play me a 10-minute yoga workout on my TV" (or any type of workout for that matter) to start following along with your favorite YouTube workout channel.
Fire up your workout playlist. If you have Spotify premium and want to access your workout playlist (here, our Spotify playlist to crush your workout goals), all you have to do is say "OK Google, play my HIIT playlist" to make at-home workouts a breeze. (It's also compatible with YouTube music, Pandora, and Google Play Music) Same goes for your Alexa device, which supports streaming services including Amazon Music, Prime Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeart Radio.
Receive step-by-step recipe instructions from Allrecipes. If your goal is to order less takeout and spend more time in the kitchen, this feature is a lifesaver. Thanks to a partnership with Allrecipes.com, you can access 60,000 recipes and basically have your own assistant (minus help with the chopping). After opening up the Allrecipes "skill" (Amazon's term for the third-party Alexa-compatible apps) say, "Alexa, find me a quick and easy chicken recipe." Or if you're not sure what you want to make, get meal inspo by asking for recipe ideas based on what foods you have in your refrigerator. From there, you can get ingredient measurements and cooking instructions without ever having to touch your phone or open a cookbook.
Add food to your shopping list. Did you just run out of spinach for your morning smoothie? Just tell Alexa to add anything you want to your shopping list. Then buy them later through Amazon Fresh.
Track your meals and calories. Whether you're actually tracking your calories to lose weight, or just want to access nutritional data, the Nutrionix Alexa skill can instantly give you accurate stats through their giant database that contains nearly 500,000 grocery items and over 100,000 restaurant items.
For Google Home:
Get nutrition stats on any food or ingredient. If you're staring into your fridge or pantry unsure of the best post-workout snack, you can ask Google for calorie or nutritional info (like how much much sugar or protein is in your Greek yogurt) so you can make the healthiest decisions based on your goals.
Get measurement unit conversions. No need to get your phone messy when trying to figure out how many ounces are in a cup mid-recipe. Google can answer these questions and—as with Alexa—lets you set a timer (or multiple timers, if needed) quickly and painlessly.
Follow a guided sleep meditation. If you're trying to wean yourself off of screens before bed to improve your sleep, fire up the Thrive Global for Alexa skill for an eight-minute meditation that will help you drift off to sleep quickly and sleep soundly without pesky blue light from your phone. (And check out our 20-minute guided meditation for beginners.)
Receive daily affirmations. Whether you're feeling down and in need of some positive vibes, or just want to be more mindful on a daily basis, the Walking Affirmations skill will help you out with an inspiring thought. Just ask Alexa for your affirmation, then receive uplifting nuggets like, "I am at peace."
Get instant stress relief. When you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, use the Stop, Breathe & Think skill for a quick meditation that's between three and 10 minutes long to help you reset and beat stress. (We also suggest: How to Calm Down When You're About to Freak Out)
For Google Home:
Get a 10-minute guided meditation: Google Home's integration with meditation app Headspace lets you have easy access to the "gym membership for your mind." Say "Ok Google, talk to Headspace" to get walked through a 10-minute daily meditation. (FYI, experts saying using an app like Headspace can help beat the "winter blahs".)