What’s Plogging? Everything You Need to Know About the Swedish Wellness Trend

It helps your body and the planet.

What's Plogging? Everything You Need to Know About the Swedish Wellness Trend
Credit: iStock/AleksandarNakic

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a woman jogging outdoors while toting a trash bag. Every few minutes she would stoop down to pick up litter and then carry on with her run

“What a great idea!” I thought. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Well, it seems because the Swedish already did back in 2016, and it’s called “plogging.”

 According to the Washington Post, the term is a combination of jogging and the Swedish word, “plocka upp,” meaning pick up, which in this case is litter.

The eco-friendly fitness craze erupted across Scandinavia, soon spreading into Germany and France,and has now found its way to U.S. shores within the last year. In fact, thanks to the current plastic crisis, “plogging” doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime fast — which is a very good thing. 

The Southwest Journal reported earlier this year that there are “about 53,000 posts on Instagram attributed to the hashtag “#plogging” and Google searches for “plogging” reached an all-time peak in February 2019.

So how do you get started? Of course, you can always bring your own trash bag as you go out for your regular morning or evening jog, or arrange a community plogging event. Or you can take part in various plogging-inspired programs across the United States created by the environmental organization, Keep America Beautiful

According to the Southwest Journal, the organization provides such events including “Trashercize” in Tennessee, “Plogging NYC” in New York and “Summer of Plogging” in Indiana.

“Litter impacts our quality of life and economic development and often ends up as marine debris, polluting our waterways and oceans and harming wildlife and the environment,” the organization’s spokesperson Mike Rosen told the Journal. “Plogging is brilliant because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities.”

And it also keeps you fit. The Independent reported that “as plogging requires some bending and arm strength to hold all the garbage, a half hour of plogging will burn 288 calories on average – compared to just 235 calories from regular jogging.” 

Plus, not only do you also have to squat to pick up the garbage — which means you’re also helping to tone your glutes and quads — but think of how challenging it is to stop and start your run. The constant bending and reaching will work up a sweat in no time. 

Even if you’re not much of a runner, plogging is the type of activity you can do while walking or even cycling. 

No matter what your reason for plogging — whether it’s to help our planet or to get a little more burn into your jogging routine or both– you can’t go wrong with engaging in this eco-friendly exercise. 

So give it a shot. Even if you pick up one piece of litter while exercising outdoors, you’re doing the planet, and your body, a huge favor. 

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Brianne Hogan is a Canadian writer, currently based in Prince Edward Island. A self-proclaimed "wellness freak," she has a... More about Brianne Hogan