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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.

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