Plogging: Fitness Meets Environmentalism in This Hot Trend

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In an effort to eliminate litter from public spaces and divert garbage away from the world’s oceans, trash-bag-toting runners are going the distance and doing their part to help clean up the environment through a dynamic new fitness trend called plogging.

What Is Plogging?

Founded in Sweden in 2016, plogging got its start as a response to the alarming amount of plastic and other trash currently polluting the world’s oceans.

A mash-up of the Swedish words plocka upp and jogga, plogging translates in English to “pickup jogging.”

Over the past couple of years, organized groups of runners around Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia have been busy picking up litter while they run — successfully beautifying cities, cleaning up the environment and getting a great workout in the process.

However, in addition to helping make outdoor spaces cleaner, the eco-friendly fitness activity — which incorporates squat and lunge movements — also is reported to provide a better workout than traditional running, giving joggers more incentive to try the eco-conscious craze.

The Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum reports that 30 minutes of plogging burns about 50 more calories than one would burn during a regular 30-minute run. Ploggers interested in tracking their activity can do so with the app, which added a plogging feature earlier this year.

Going Global

As plogging continues to grow in popularity around Scandinavia and the world, joggers and environmentalists in the U.S. are embracing the fitness fad with open arms. One environmental advocacy nonprofit in Nebraska is dedicating the entire month of June to the eco-friendly activity, and national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful has become a champion for spreading plogging awareness.

“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,” said Keep America Beautiful senior vice president of marketing and communications, Mike Rosen, in a statement. “Plogging is brilliant because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities. All you need is running gear and a bag for trash or recyclables, and you are not only improving your own health but your local community, too.”

Try It Out

Interested in trying it for yourself? Reach out to local environmental organizations in your area to learn about local plogging groups or organize your own group using social media. If you want to see your stats, track your progress using the Lifesum app, which is available for free from the App Store and Google Play.

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Margo Greenman

Margo Greenman

Margo is a writer and editor based in the Pacific Northwest who is passionate about all things travel and the outdoors. In her spare time, Margo enjoys cooking, beach days and spending time with family.
Margo Greenman