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A few months back, I took out a subscription to “Men’s Health” magazine, and ever since then, I have been inspired to change my unhealthy lifestyle 3 Great Free Online Fitness Programs To Help You Get In Shape 3 Great Free Online Fitness Programs To Help You Get In Shape Read More . I am a sucker for junk food and being lazy, and my job as a writer and blogger doesn’t help either. It’s not exactly an “active job” in the sense that I am not moving around all the time. So I started using the iPhone app Accupedo which is encouraging me to move around more.

As well as a weakness for burgers, I am also not drinking enough water. I hate the stuff. It’s tasteless and bland, and if I had to choose between water and a Coke, I would take the Coke without hesitation. But I have realised that not drinking enough water is seriously detrimental to my health. Not drinking at least 2 litres a day can have a lot of knock-on effects including depression and weight gain.

I needed was some inspiration, something to motivate me to drink more water. That was when I found iPhone app iDrated ($0.99). Similar to Accupedo, it turns something which is uninspiring into a game and a challenge, something that makes you want to beat your previous score. And you know what? It’s working!

Drinking Games

When you first launch the app, you have to tell it whether you are a man or a woman. A man and a woman have different recommended daily water intake levels, so it’s important to get the sex right. For a man, it’s 3 litres, but if you decide that you want to aim a little lower to start with, and try for 1.5 litres or 2 litres, then you can easily lower it in the options.

This was me at 3.20pm this afternoon, at 23% hydrated. As you can see, the interface is nicely designed, complete with animations to show your hydration level rising the more you drink. When you get to 50%, you get a bronze medal prize, which is basically nothing more than bragging rights on Twitter or Facebook. As I have only been using this for a couple of days, I haven’t got past 50% hydrated yet so I’m not entirely sure when the gold and silver kick in, but I’d presume 75% and 100% are safe bets.

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As this help screen shows, the main screen is completely customizable.

If it annoys you, you can also switch off the push notification that iDrated regularly sends you to nag you to have a drink of water. But to me, this would be totally counter-productive. The whole point of the app is to encourage, motivate and nag you to drink more. If you switch off the push notifications, you will probably forget to drink at all.

Logging Your Intake

Each time you drink, you’ll need to enter the amount of liquid you’ve taken on-board into the app (you can either use a measuring jug, or a glass for which you know the volume).

It’s a bit tricky at first, but you soon get the hang of it. Simply put your finger on the screen and hold it there. Then a bottle appears. I had to swipe this screenshot from iDrated’s page as it was virtually impossible to do this with one hand, while taking a screenshot with the Home and Sleep buttons at the same time!

When the bottle appears, just move your finger up and down until the amount you are drinking appears on the screen. Then let go and the blue level on the body on the screen will rise, with a satisfying pouring sound. Your hydrated percentage will also rise accordingly, and the time of your next drink will update.

If you slip and make a mistake, fear not. Simply shake the device to undo the last amount entered. Then do it again. Swipe left-to-right to see how much you drank the previous day, complete with options to correct the amount if it is incorrect. I didn’t realise I had such a spiffing moustache!

By turning your phone landscape, you can also see your stats on what days you did better than others. Since I have only been using it for a couple of days, nothing much is there right now, but once I get a full week populated into the app, it will be useful to see which days I fell short.

Worth It

After only a couple of days, I really like the “game” aspect Points For Everything: How I Tried to Win At Life With Gamification Points For Everything: How I Tried to Win At Life With Gamification My brain is stupid. It thinks I can get done tomorrow what I need to do today, and that I can do this afternoon what I need to do this morning. It puts everything off.... Read More of this app, that it challenges me to beat my goal water intake, and this in turn makes me healthier. Priced at only $0.99, this is one app you need to use if your water intake is less than optimal.

Download: iDrated for iPhone ($0.99)

Let us know in the comments what you think of it, or if you know of a similar app that does the same thing.

  1. Jacques P
    December 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

    you can't always calculate the exact amount of liquid drunk,... therefore why "they" want us to measure everything for them and provide them all these personal data? (rhetoric question)

  2. dragonmouth
    December 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Technology is supposed to free us from drudgery of repetitive tasks. All these apps that are and have been developed for smart phones only add repetitive work. One has to constantly keep updating the apps with new numbers on water intake, calorie intake, amount of exercise, amount of sleep, etc. etc. etc. leaving no time for any activity except feeding numbers to apps.

  3. Neville Scollop
    December 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    load of codswallop, you should drink when your thirsty. No scientific study has proven that drinking water at regular intervals during the day is good for you. Drinking water only increases body weight. Mark if you want to loose weight get your lard-arse out of the chair and cycle 30Km a day to and from work. Give up the junk food and eat more fruit and veg.

    • dragonmouth
      December 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      It is your comment that is a "load of codswallop". If you have ever done any meaningful amount of exercise, you would know that by the time you start feeling thirsty, it is too late, you are in the early stages of dehydration.

      "No scientific study has proven that drinking water at regular intervals during the day is good for you."
      Horse muffins! Water helps to flush out certain waste products from your body, especially if you exercise. Also, water in the form of sweat helps to cool the body.

      "Drinking water only increases body weight."
      Only if you sit on your butt. Anyway, the weight gain is temporary until the water is filtered through your kidneys and eliminated either as urine or as sweat. Water IS NOT stored by the body for future use.

      "Mark if you want to loose weight get your lard-arse out of the chair and cycle 30Km a day to and from work. Give up the junk food and eat more fruit and veg."
      Agreed.

    • Mark O
      December 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Excuse me?? "Lard-arse"? You know when a person has lost the argument when they resort to insults. Was that really necessary?

      And my work is at home so I can't cycle to work. Even if I could, epilepsy prevents me from using a bike.

      Before resorting to insults, maybe bear in mind that there are other sides to the story, and don't just assume I am some fat slob eating pizzas all day long.

      And the fact that you are debunking all the water research shows that you know absolutely nothing on the subject. You may be interested to know that in the time I have been using the app, I have lost weight for the first time in months.

  4. Rob H
    December 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    The only problem is that the alleged beneficial water consumption targets are complete garbage, not science based.

    There are two sources for this misinformation.
    A 19th century doctor attempted to calculate the TOTAL water intake of a person in a day. Although he produced a figure he did not specify the size of the person, the activities they were engaged in, the temperature and humidity. He did get one thing right though, he wasn't looking at water intake in terms of drinking pure water but the total including the water content in foodstuffs, for example some salad vegetables can be as much as 99% water. Most of what you eat as part of a normal diet is water, most meat, after cooking is 60% water (Raw meat is around 70% water). You could probably address all your water needs by adopting a diet very high in fresh fruit and vegetables (especially salad veg).

    The second source is an american doctor. He found that people with stomach ulcers were helped by drinking more water. That's easily explained: the stomach contains strong chemicals including hydrochloric acid, those chemicals irritate ulcers and cause pain, diluting them reduces the irritation. So far so good but he then went on to make out that drinking pure water was a universal "cure-all" - that was based on no scientific evidence, no peer reviewed publications or repeatable double blind tests and rigourous scientific protocols, just his own subjective "tests". Any positive results were very probably down experimental bias and the placebo effect.

    Moving on from that:
    Of course we do need water, we can become fatally dehydrated, the long term cumulative effects of under hydration can lead to problems (implicated in kidney stones). The body does have mechanisms to decrease water loss if we are under-hydrated, I read that some indiginous Australian tribesmen have adapted to conserve water in the extreme desert conditions by not sweating.
    The amount we need depends on what we are doing, who, when and where we are. A 100kilo person doing heavy manual labour daytime, in a hot humid climate will die of dehydration at only 3 litres a day. On the other hand, a sedentary 60kg person working in an air-conditioned office might become seriously sick by trying to consume 3 litres in addition to a normal diet.
    Surely it's obvious that a "one size fits all" figure of 3 litres cannot possibly be right.

    Fatalities ascribed to the use of the drug Ecstacy/MDMA/"E" are sometimes due to the subject's over-consumption of water possibly due to a mistaken belief that simply drinking lots of water will offset any side effects of the drug (over heating from dancing vigourously for a long time in a hot humid environment). There is a level of water consumption at which the normal mechanisms for it leaving the system cannot cope, the blood is diluted causing many normal body systems to malfunction, the first signs of this are not unlike alcohol intoxication. A small person who chose to consume their supposed daily quota of 3 litres of water within an hour could end up dead.

    There are natural mechanisms that help us manage our fluid intake. The most obvious one is called thirst. Don't ignore it. If you want to monitor your state of hydration your body comes equipped with a personalised measure. Your pee. Peeing a lot and it's almost colourless: you're well/over hydrated. Peeing small volume and it's the colour of liquid honey: you need to drink more.

    My personal experience bears this out. For example, last summer I went on a strenuous 20 mile hike in the hills on a very hot day. My total fluid intake for the day was 8 litres. I didn't pee once. Had I not set off carrying plenty I'd not have made it. I could not have survived on 3 litres.

    Conclusion: this app is a waste of money that only serves to propogate poor and possibly dangerous misunderstanding of some flawed science.

    • Tina S
      December 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Thirst is often confused with hunger and many people who fall prey to this illusion eat when really their body is asking for fluid. Hence, staying hydrated can help feeling less "hungry", not just because the belly is indeed filled, but also because thirst can't be mixed up with hunger. The nice potential side effect is weight loss.

      Moreover, the app propagates drinking water, which is the best way to remain hydrated. If one drinks water rather than sugary drinks, one saves a ton of calories, which again potentially results in weight loss.

      I once heard of a heavily overweight man. When they made a list of the stuff he ate, they were surprised to find that the calories of his (fast) food merely added up to what he needed to maintain his weight. Yet he was gaining several kilograms a month. How come? Yep, the calories in coke & co added up to the weight he was gaining.

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