Plogging: Swedish Fitness Trend Good For The Body And The Environment

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Want a full-body workout that combines cardio, weights, squats, lunges and some hopping? Better yet, want to work on your bod while also beautifying your community? “Plogging” is where it’s at, people. All you need is your runners, a bag to collect garbage, and some rubber gloves. Seriously; don’t forget the rubber gloves.

Plogging is a Swedish-exported fitness craze finally gaining momentum across Canada and the US. The word actually originates from a fusion of the Swedish words “plocka”, meaning pick up, and “jogga”, meaning jogging. The concept is very simple; all you have to do is pick up trash while you jog.

The snow is FINALLY starting to melt in my neck of the woods, exposing a tremendous amount of garbage in the roadside ditches. So, I decided to give this fitness trend a try. I have to admit, the experience was both rewarding and disheartening.

Half a mile into my “plog”, I had already filled my large-size bag with litter. I collected a discarded lottery ticket, chip bags, and a countless number of plastic water bottles, coffee cups, and beer bottles. In that short distance, I stopped to pick up a heavy mystery bag that was tightly-sealed (I didn’t want to know what was in there), 11 empty cigarette cartons, and a porn magazine.

Like I said, don’t forget the rubber gloves.

Worried that you won’t get a very good workout picking up trash? Don’t be! According to the fitness app Lifesum, you’ll burn more calories plogging for an hour than you would jogging.

In fact, plogging burns about 288 calories, whereas jogging checks-in at an average of 235 calories an hour.

I believe it! After running, lunging and reaching, climbing over hill and dale, and even doing a few sumo squats over a little creek in the ditch, I was legitimately out of breath. Not to mention, my arms were burning after hauling that heavy bag around for the remainder of my run.  

As I said, the experience was definitely somewhat disheartening because there was so much garbage in such a short distance, and I know there will always be more. I could probably go out and collect the same amount of litter from the same stretch of road next week, and that’s a very sad thought. But it was also very rewarding because I knew I was making a difference, even though a very small one. The positive endorphins were pumping knowing I was doing something good for both the environment and my body.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I have two dogs to walk every day, and I don’t see why I couldn’t take some time to clean up the neighborhood as well. Around the world, many people are making similar pledges, like one Vancouver woman, who takes 10 minutes out of her daily jogs to pick up litter. In Nebraska, an environmental group has dedicated the month of June to plogging.

There are ways to make it more fun too, whether it be through “group plogs”, or competitions with friends over who can collect the most garbage, or even the most unique items, like porn, for instance.

Even if it’s only for 10 minutes every day. We all have it within us to help turn things around for the environment. Every little bit helps, and I can’t think of any better way to combine exercise with making our communities more beautiful.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.