By Jackie Rainford Corcoran EBS Health Columnist
Plogging is a new fitness trend that started in 2016 and is now sweeping the world. It enhances the feelings of purpose and meaning while exercising, and you may already be a plogger but didn’t know there was a name for it.
Plogging is jogging, or walking, with the intention of getting exercise while picking up litter as you go. The word plogging comes from a combination of the words jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp” which translates to “pick up.”
Erik Ahlström started plogging in Stockholm, Sweden, after being appalled by the amount of litter in the streets compared to the Swedish ski resort town he had previously lived in.
This, in addition to the awareness we now have about pollution—such as alarming reports predicting that if we don’t change our ways, our oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050—created fertile ground for Ahlström to start a grassroots movement.
He started an organization called Plogga by recruiting and arming joggers with gloves and garbage bags for plogging outings, and created a website and social media movement—check out #plogging on Instagram.
While plogging is an act of selfless giving, exercise enthusiasts may appreciate that the lunging and squatting involved in picking up trash can burn an additional 50 calories every 30 minutes.
The non-profit Keep America Beautiful was naturally drawn to this movement. They’ve recently partnered with the Swedish-based fitness app, Lifesum which allows its 25 million users to track how many calories they’ve burned while plogging, in hopes of turning this blossoming trend into a long-term habit.
Living in the Gallatin Valley makes plogging a much simpler task than living in a major city, but litter still exists here and preventing garbage from making its way into our rivers matters.
If you do want to go plogging in a high pollution area, but don’t like the idea of breaking up the flow of your run because you have to stop every 3 feet to pick up trash, simply designate a certain amount of time that you’ll plog—maybe 10 minutes at the end of your run.
If you’re a competitive person, consider plogging with other people and create a challenge to see who can pick up the most garbage in the shortest amount of time.
If you love walking but aren’t into jogging, that’s OK, try going for a “plalk” instead.
Whether you’re already plogging or would like to begin, you may want to share your experiences on social media or tell your friends and family about it in order to raise awareness, inspire others and create a sense of community around it.
Thanks for your efforts!
Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach. Check out corcoranhealth.com where you can schedule a free 30-minute health coaching session or download a free worksheet to help you jump start a lifestyle/behavior change you’ve been trying to make.