A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

April 8, 2019

“Wellness” Skills to Help Your Health & Fitness

As the “wellness” industry grows along with an aging “Baby Boomer” population, the popularity of mobile apps to assist those looking for mindfulness also grows. A good example is the “Headspace” app – which includes bite-sized guided meditations and hundreds of themed sessions for stress, anxiety, sleep, etc.

It’s only natural that a bevy of skills is also available for those that seek wellness. Here are ten examples:

1. Sleep and Relaxation Sounds – With over 11,000 reviews – most of them five-star – this one is popular. You can pick from a list of 125 sounds and then let it loop until you say stop – or until a specific length of time that you tell it in advance. “Alexa open Sleep Sounds.”

2. Healing Sounds – Popular skill that plays relaxing sounds. You can select your sound or just listen to the one offered. In-skill purchasing available to buy additional sounds. “Alexa open Healing Sounds.”

3. Relaxing Sounds: Indian Flute – Great musical accompaniment for meditation, yoga, healing and complete relaxation. Of course, if you know the name of a musician who plays the Indian flute, you can just play their music directly. But if you don’t, this skill is for you. “Alexa, Open Indian Flute.”

4. 1-Minute Mindfulness: Peace One Minute at a Time – Provides a simple, one-minute break with sounds. You can extend the minute if you want. “Alexa, Ask Mindfulness for a minute meditation.”

5. The Daily Task – This is a skill to helps you to change step-by-step. I like the idea of this one – but it uses a synthetic voice. “Alexa, open The Daily Task.”

6. Guided Meditation: Meditation of the Day for Calm – Daily meditations between 3-8 minutes long, with a total of 80 or so in total. Tells you upfront how long a particular meditation will be. Uses a human voice. “Alexa, open Guided Meditation.”

7. Headspace – You need a Headspace account to access this skill. Provides new daily meditations and all the other type of stuff like the app mentioned above. “Alexa, open Headspace.”

8. Fitbit – You need a Fitbit account to access this skill. Helps you keep track of how you’re meeting your fitness goals – whether it be number of steps walked, number of hours slept, etc. “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I’m doing today.”

9. Swiss Workouts – Fitness Personal Trainer – This is a “Flash Briefing” so I’m cheating a little – but it caught my eye because it sounded so unique. It’s fitness tips from those that live in the Alps.

10. Happy Days – Random positive quotes. They’re short – so the synthetic voice might be palatable for some. “Alexa, open Happy Days.”

My pet peeve is that this is one of those areas that a synthetic voice is not a good match. It’s hard to get relaxed when listening to a Polly voice. So the best of these skills uses sounds & music – or human voices…