The term plogging might sound a little strange — like prancercise — but it’s actually a fitness trend that’ll get you in shape and help save the planet.
What is plogging, you ask?
Plogging is the combination of the words jogging and “plocka up,” Swedish for “pick up.” Basically, it means pick up litter while you’re running outdoors, giving you the perfect trifecta: You’re helping the environment while improving your physical and mental fitness at the same time.
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It’s probably no surprise that the trend began in Sweden, but a look at the #plogging hashtag on Instagram shows that it’s quickly growing in popularity around the world, with posts from ploggers in Spain, India, Malaysia, Turkey, Portugal and more.
The benefits of plogging
But it hasn’t quite picked up steam in the United States yet, at least until now.
“Here’s a workout that’s good for you and the planet,” blogger Rose McAvoy captioned on a recent Instagram post. “We found a bag lying on the ground then filled it with trash on the walk home from school. This was all in 2 ½ blocks!”
She goes on to highlight another huge benefit to plogging.
Here’s a workout that’s good for you and the planet. We found a bag lying on the ground then filled it with trash on the walk home from school. This was all in 2 ½ blocks! A cluttered environment impacts our stress and anxiety levels. Taking a few extra minutes to tidy up (inside or out) can make the entire day calmer. Bump the burn by adding squats or lunges to your liter collecting. . . . . . #plogging #workoutoftheday #mindsetcoach #healthykids #healthymoms #goforawalk #environmentallyfriendly #bekind
“A cluttered environment impacts our stress and anxiety levels. Taking a few extra minutes to tidy up (inside or out) can make the entire day calmer,” she added. “Bump the burn by adding squats or lunges to your liter [sic] collecting.”
She’s right: Unlike jogging, plogging requires you to be nimble and stop at a moment’s notice to pick up garbage, mimicking butt- and leg-building movements like squats and lunges.
“Similar to interval training, plogging combines a quick running step for short periods with focused lunges and squats,” Swedish nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman told PureWow. “Interval training boosts endurance and burns more calories during and after a workout than normal running, improving fitness and fat burning for best results.”
And doing good for others — or the environment — is linked to lower blood pressure and decreased mortality rates. Another study showed that older adults who volunteered experienced less memory loss and greater physical mobility.
“When we do things for ourselves, those experiences of positive emotions are more fleeting. They are dependent on external circumstances,” Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told The New York Times in 2017.
“When we engage in acts of generosity, those experiences of positive emotion may be more enduring and outlast the specific episode in which we are engaged.”
So by plogging, you’re improving the health of your home, while improving your health for the long term as well. And your legs and backside will reap the rewards, too. What’s not to love here?