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It’s getting hotter outside, and the need for more water will be ever increasing, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.  There’s a lot of talk about much water we should be drinking every day, and there are good reasons why.  From fatigue to headaches, there are a lot of everyday maladies that could be helped by just drinking more water.  Our bodies are mostly water, right?  So, it makes sense that when you don’t replenish the supply, you’re going to feel it.  The answer is simple and easy to do, but so many of us aren’t doing it.  Is it an issue of time?  A lack of knowledge about how much is enough?  Or is it the country’s extreme taste for sugary sodas and other drinks that can actually dehydrate our bodies?

Maybe we should start simple: How much water do you need to drink everyday?  According to Yuri Elkaim at U.S. News and World Report, this is easily calculated.  Just take your body weight, cut it in half, and that’s how many ounces you should be drinking every day.  For example: If you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day.  Easy, right?  The caveat: That only applies to a body at rest; you know, doing normal everyday things like working at a desk, chilling out with a book or even doing light household chores.  If you’re mountain climbing, taking a run or otherwise pushing your body, you need more.  And that makes perfect sense, right?  Water is released as sweat, so you need to put it back in.  Your body just uses up more water when it’s active, so it needs more to meets its basic needs.

So, how do you know if you need more water?  Listen to your body.  It’s not just when you’re feeling thirsty that you need to down a bottle of water; actually, when your mouth feels dry and you’re thirsty, your cells are already feeling the squeeze.  The best way to know if you need more water: look in the potty.  If your urine is running clear, you’re good, but if it’s yellow or orange, bottoms up!  We mentioned earlier that dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue, but you can also experience dizziness and lack of focus.  None of these are good.

If you want to track your water consumption but have busy days like the rest of us, there are apps for your phone that can do it for you.  One of the most popular seems to be Waterlogged (available for free for Android and iPhone).  With this app, you just enter your daily goal for water consumption and add in how much you drink throughout the day.  When you’ve reached your goal, a big “Congratulations” window will pop up on your phone.  It’s like a little party just for you!  And if you can’t get one other thing done that day, at least you can meet your water needs.:)  Another app is called Plant Nanny.  It’s cute, so it may not be for everyone.  It’s available for $0.99 for iPhone users only.  The basic concept is that you get a plant, and as the day goes on and you enter how much water you’re drinking, your plant either flourishes or withers and dies.  Cute but effective.

Like games that give you a sense of challenge and competition? Try iDrated.  It’s available for iPhones and is $0.99.  With this one, you get medals and you can beat your own scores.  It will also send you reminders throughout the day, and really, who couldn’t use a tap on the shoulder to remind you of something and a pat on the back for a job well done?

So, you’ve got an app and a goal?  How do you manage to actually get that water in throughout the day?  We recommend a refillable water bottle.  The city of San Francisco recently banned the sale of plastic water bottles on city property, and it’s not a bad idea.  How many plastic water bottles do you suppose end up in landfills every year?  They’re just not good for the environment long term.  A refillable water bottle (especially when you buy one that’s BPA-free), is a great solution.  You can fill it up for free at lots of different locations and haul it everywhere with you.  If you forget it, don’t worry; we’ve always got bottles of water for you at Brown Bag to wash down your healthy breakfasts and lunches.  Consider doing yourself and the planet a big favor though–drink more water and drink it from refillable bottles.