How to use a smart speaker to build healthy habits
Your smart speaker helps you anticipate the weather every day, but could it help you live a healthier lifestyle?
With smart speakers becoming more common in U.S. households (estimates put the number of U.S. smart speaker owners at 66.4 million), the potential to apply them to our health may be promising.
“There are aspects of having a smart speaker in the home that could be beneficial to many groups of patients,” Angela Sweeney, nurse practitioner at the Aurora Health Center in West Bend, says. “For example, individuals with conditions such as diabetes use smart speakers to set reminders for blood sugar checks and to take their insulin.”
Short of burning the calories or taking the medicine for us, your smart speaker (or the voice assistant in it) could be used for these healthy habits.
- Setting reminders to take prescribed medication
- Checking the calorie count on the food choices you’re considering
- Playing guided meditation for your mind/body wellbeing
- Fitting a quick workout into your busy schedule
- Helping you get a good night sleep with sounds, sleep reminders and guided relaxation
The application of smart speakers to health and wellness is a growing area of research, though it has limitations. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the efficacy of voice assistants to respond to some mental and physical health concerns found that the four mainstream voice assistants inconsistently connected users to appropriate resources. Smart speakers also do not comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, so they don’t protect your health information.
As with any smart device, users should secure their accounts and information by choosing strong passwords, changing passwords frequently and adjusting the privacy settings on the device.
“Whether you use a smart speaker for it or not, there is no question eating healthy and moving every day can help you live well,” Sweeney says.
Interested in building habits to improve your health? Start by taking an assessment of your healthy weight range by clicking here.
About the Author
Heather Van Roo is a member of Advocate Aurora Health’s public affairs team in Milwaukee, WI. She has been a health care storyteller in the Greater Milwaukee Area for more than ten years. Outside of work, she adores her family, walks with her dog and teaches recreational ballet and tap dance.