Modern life is hectic. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, we juggle countless responsibilities and commitments — to our jobs, our family, our friends and ourselves. It can get exhausting. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget the little things, and the not-so-little-things, like staying hydrated.
How many times have you gotten home from a long day at work, and all you want to do is lounge on the couch before going to sleep? Maybe you grab your favorite adult beverage from the fridge, but often the furthest thing from your mind is how much water you’ve had to drink throughout the day. You wake up the next morning with a headache and a dry mouth. Your throat feels parched. You’re dehydrated.
According the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the daily recommended fluid intake is about 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. Human bodies are approximately 60% water, and the average person loses 2.5 to 3 liters of water a day through normal biological functions. That number increases the more we move and exercise, especially in the heat. Proper hydration is critical.
How can we ensure that we’re drinking enough water throughout the day? Modern technology is here to help. There are myriad hydration-tracking apps that allow you to monitor your fluid intake while also reminding you when it’s time to take a sip. Even better: Many of these apps are free.
These useful tools make staying hydrated a breeze and can have a seriously beneficial impact on your health. Here’s an overview of the top five free hydration-tracking apps available on your smartphone.
Google Play Store: 4.8 stars, 10 million + downloads
Apple AppStore: 4.8 stars
This easy-to-use app allows you to personalize your fluid intake based on your weight and gender, just plug in your details and the app will do the rest. Water Tracker will remind you when to take a drink and lets you log your intake with the tap of a finger. It also allows you to set personal hydration goals and will track your progress towards them. You can customize goals based on the weather and your activity level. This app offers a wide variety of beverages from which to choose, so you don’t have to restrict yourself to water, and you can switch between metric and imperial units. Water Tracker rewards your endeavors by unlocking new levels and achievements.
Google Play Store: 4.8 stars, 10M + downloads
This app touts itself as the “best water tracker ever!” And it has the credentials to back it up. Rated one of the best apps of 2016, Water Drink Reminder was also selected as the best self-improvement app by Google Play. It’s the No. 1 health app in 30 countries and is among the top five health apps in 60 more countries. Water Drink Reminder earned these accolades thanks to its ease of use. To get started, simply enter your weight, and Water Drink Reminder does the rest. The app calculates how much water to drink per day and reminds you when it's time to take a sip. Fully compatible with Google Fit, the app creates graphs of your drinking schedule and backs up your data to protect it from being lost.
Google Play Store: 4.6 stars, 1M + downloads
Apple AppStore: 4.7 stars
Plant Nanny has all the functionality you’d expect from a hydration-tracking app, but adds an interesting element that makes it stand out: The app allows you to grow virtual plants. The more water your drink, the more your plant grows. As you reach your hydration goals, your plant levels up, as well. Each new level gives the plant a new appearance and reflects the work you’ve put into yourself. To add another element of personalization, the app awards points you can use to buy accessories such as pots, backgrounds and additional plants to create your own digital garden. Plant Nanny also offers monthly challenges and a paid-subscription service with even more functionality and more plant options.
Google Play Store: 4.6 stars, 1M + downloads
Recommended by CNN, Everyday Health, Vogue and Heathline, this app is used by more than 2 million people worldwide and is compatible with Google Fit, Samsung Health and FitBit. Users of the free service can either set a custom hydration target or let the app determine one based on age, weight, lifestyle and local climate. If you purchase the pro version, the app will also automatically adapt your goals based on area weather forecasts, and it can take pregnancy and breastfeeding into account. Hydro Coach reminds you when to take a drink, tracks your water intake and gives you detailed insight into your drinking habits. It also allows you to customize your drink options and vessels, adding an element of creativity to your healthy hydration journey.
Google Play Store: 4.4 stars, 100K + downloads
Featured by The New Yorker, Women’s Health, Gizmodo and myriad others, WaterMinder is a sleek, intuitive app that allows you to personalize your daily hydration goals based on weight, age and gender. It also takes into account factors such as pregnancy, activity level and the climate in which you reside. Customizable reminders can be tailored to our daily routine, and the app’s hydration statistics provide valuable insight into your drinking habits. Designed for the chaos of modern life, the app’s ease of use, personalization options and compatibility with popular exercise-tracking devices make it a helpful companion to reach your hydration goals.
Proper hydration is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle.These apps help take the uncertainty out of staying hydrated, ensuring your body has the fluids it needs to function. They are also a great way to build healthy hydration habits for a long and healthful life.
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