What The Heck Is Plogging?

Exercise with a conscience! If you want to get fit and are concerned about the environment, this new fitness trend be just the activity you've been looking for. Learn how to get started!

Plogging: It kind of sounds like a new kind of blogging, doesn’t it? Nothing could be further from the truth! If you want to get fit and are concerned about the environment, this new fitness trend might be just the activity you’ve been looking for.

What is Plogging?

Plogging originated in Sweden as a popular new way to exercise and save the planet at the same time. Just as the name suggests, plogging is the activity of jogging and picking up trash along the way. The word is a mix of jogging, and the Swedish word for “pick up,” which is plocka upp—hence “plogging.”

Plogging is becoming more and more popular among joggers—and even walkers and hikers—who are becoming frustrated with the garbage they see littering their favorite sidewalks and trails. In fact, most people have always been picking up trash on their fitness outings; now there’s a word for it!

If you want to get started, plogging is easy. The next time you go out for a run, take along a bag to pick up whatever garbage you see.

Good for You and the Environment

The benefits of plogging are numerous — for your health and the environment. Unsightly trash on the side of the roads gets cleaned up while you get a good cardiovascular workout.

When it comes to exercise, think of plogging as a mixture of jogging and burpees (or squat thrusts). You’ll get the cardiovascular benefits of jogging and a little bit of strength training each time you squat to collect garbage.  And it’s something you can do while social distancing.

Balance The Tasks

Just remember, if you happen to live in an area where there is a lot of trash, you don’t have to stop for each and every piece. Particularly badly littered areas can quickly turn your plogging forays into just picking up garbage. If that’s the case, you may want to separate the two activities—go jogging one day, for instance, then focus on picking up garbage another day. Alternatively, you could focus on only one type of trash per outing. Plastic straws one day, cigarette butts another, and so on, so that you can balance the time spent between jogging and trash collecting.

Photo used with permission by Varsha Naidu via Instagram

Plogging Safety

Now that you know what plogging is and how to do it, it’s time to think a bit about safety. Follow all the same safety tips that you might for jogging, as well as these key tips:

  • Use the buddy system by staying in pairs (maintaining 6 feet distance) in areas that you think might be dangerous and take your phone along in case you need to call for help.
  • Wear the right jogging shoes to prevent injuries, and if you plog after dark, make sure to take your reflective gear with you.
  • Sanitation is a concern (especially if you find things like used diapers or other unsanitary items of garbage) and if you attempt to pick up sharp objects like broken glass, you may cut yourself. Wear sturdy gloves. Thick garden gloves can help prevent a cut and provide a barrier between you and whatever grimy objects you collect.

The best part about plogging is that you can get involved even if you’re not a jogger. When you go out walking or hiking, take a trash bag along. You’ll get a lot of the same health benefits and you’ll be doing something good for the environment!

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Amber Kanuckel

Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.

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Miste M Anders-Clemons

I am so glad that this is mentioned. I had heard about it before but thank you for doing this article. LOVED IT! I accept the challenge.

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