When it comes to exercise 26 is the magic number! Buddyboost know this and have cleverly designed your brand spanking new activity tool around the number 26.
If you’ve not already unlocked buddyboost, head to your wellometer page.
The concept is really simple. Buddy-up (virtually) with up to 5 friends, family, or colleagues and support each other to do 26 minutes of exercise a day for 26 days.
Buddyboost is an activity app like no other. It isn’t about donning neon spandex, running a marathon in 3 hours, lifting more weights than is humanly possible, or training to get abs like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (unless you want to, in which case fill your boots!), it’s just about doing 26 minutes of ANY physical activity every day for 26 days.
Why 26 minutes?
It’s not because 26 is a number associated with marathons. Nor is it because you can listen to S Club 7’s ‘Reach’ six times in 26 minutes – although that is an added bonus. It turns out, it’s because 26 minutes is just what the doctor ordered.
And not just any doctor. According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officers , we should all be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week:
“This threshold has been widely adopted internationally. For good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.”
If we do 26 minutes every day, we’ll get to 182 minutes. Miss one day, and we’ll still hit our weekly target, clocking up 156 minutes. Boom!
The CMO report also points out that 150 minutes should be within reach for most of us:
“150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week is likely to be achievable for many people, when environments are accessible and inclusive.”
This is particularly true when you break it down into manageable chunks, which is why we love the ‘pause’ button in buddyboost.
There’s also something mightily significant about it being less than half an hour. 26 minutes is psychologically much less intimidating for those of us who aren’t used to exercising much and it feels much easier to squeeze into a busy day, especially when we break it down into chunks.
Why 26 days?
According to the good-old Cambridge dictionary, a habit is:
‘Something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you’re doing it: I always buy the same brand of toothpaste out of habit.’
If you drive, think about parallel parking. Uttering these two words is enough to make any learner driver break out in a cold sweat, but if we’ve been driving for a long time it’s second nature. It’s a habit.
We are wondrous creatures of habit. According to a study, 45% of everything we do, think and say is driven by our habits. 
Relying on willpower or self-motivation is a fool's game when trying to form new habits, especially around exercise. Have a nosey at ‘Why motivation isn’t about shooting for the moon’ to find out why. So, to support us in developing a new habit of moving more every day, buddyboost encourages us to partake in a spot of physical activity daily for 26 days. Whilst it might take an individual a little longer to form a habit (have a read of our blog on habit forming here) 26 days in a row puts us on the path to forming a daily exercise habit.
One last thing: It’s not about how far or how fast we go, any physical activity counts (as long as we put a bit of effort in). And if that’s not a good enough reason to get moving more, a Harvard Health study  concluded there is a 26% reduction in the risk of major depression among people who run for just 15 minutes a day. A round of applause for the magic number 26, if you please.
1. Habits – A Repeat Performance (2006). Association for Psychological Science.
2. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines (2019). GOV.UK
3. Assessment of Bidirectional Relationships Between Physical Activity and Depression Among Adults (2019). JAMA Psychiatry.