Eco Friendly Swedish Fitness ‘Plogging’ A Worldwide Trend

In Sweden, some joggers came up with a eco friendly fitness that will not only keep you in shape, but it’s also great for the environment. They call it “plocka upp” which basically translates to pick it up, or just… “Plogging”. They started it in 2016 and by now, this eco friendly trend has spread around the world. From single ploggers to entire groups of ploggers, you can see them in countries like France, Germany, Scotland, Thailand, Mexico, and the US. Take a look at…

What eco friendly plogging is all about

Ploggers jog around cities, intermittently squatting and lunging to collect trash. So, basically picking up trash while jogging.

Erik Ahlstrom, the founder of Plogging explained, “You can go for a walk, you can take a stroll. It’s more like a treasure hunt. All the people around us said, ‘Oh wow! You guys are doing such a fantastic job.’ And then came the idea of starting this movement, and it’s been growing like crazy.”

People keep asking him, “Hey, why do you do this?”. To which he always responds, “Why don’t you do this?”.

He further explained, “Some people do burpees. They stop and do some sprints to the garbage. When you have your plogger eyes on, then you notice how dirty it is.”

Trash creates more trash. If it’s clean you keep it clean.” he adds, “With knowing comes caring, with caring comes changes.”

The Craze

More and more people are turning into ploggers. What is it that attracts people from around the world to start picking up trash?

Laura Lindberg  Hoboken, NJ

Laura remembers she had an “aha moment” when she learned about plogging, “Anyone can plog. You don’t have to run, you can walk.”

After she learned about the eco friendly Plogging, she suddenly felt guilty for not doing it for all the years she’s been running. “All you need is a bag.” she said.

“I’ve always been really averse to seeing litter in my environment.” she said. “I really enjoy that I control the amount of litter that’s out on the streets of the city where I live.” She continued, “I get to run, but run with a purpose.”

Plogging event

Maja Tesch, Sweden

Maja found out about the eco friendly fitness as it spread through word-of-mouth like wildfire. The hashtag #plogging showed up all over social media.

“I run a lot and I love to spend time in nature. When I find litter out in the woods or in the archipelago it makes me sad and a bit angry. When I heard about plogging it was a natural way to do something about that agitation,” Tesch wrote in an email to a Washington Post reporter. “It’s so easy to just bring the litter and put it in the nearest bin, and it makes you feel that you’re doing a difference!”

She now organizes plogging events on a regular basis for her friends and herself.

Plogging in the city

Emily Wright, Alexandria, VA,

Emily was going out for runs and walks equipped with a trash bag and gloves for months before she found out about Plogging. It was her partner who informed her that “the Swedes have a name for your trash runs!” along Alexandria’s waterfront.

“I’m not going to just let litter sit there. I’m not going to just walk past that plastic bottle. It’s not that I don’t think it’s gross to pick it up. I do. But I also think it’s gross for a person to not take responsibility for it.”

“The trash that I see the most of is single-use plastic.”, she said. “Mostly bottles, and more than just bottles are bottle caps, straws, cigarette filters, tampon applicators, and full diapers. That really does test my commitment to the environmental cause.”

And she is getting a full body workout. “By the end I’m actually incredibly sweaty, incredibly tired, and my core is aching, which is good.” she adds.

Emily said that it makes her feel good for many reasons. “My pants fit differently. I’m more nipped in at the waist. I think it’s because of balance and flexibility.”

Plogging on the beach

Why people are looking for eco friendly solutions

By adding squats to your jogging, walking, or taking a stroll with your dog, you’ll make your routines eco friendly. You’don’t only stay healthy through this exercise, but you’ll also help to keep plastics out of the oceans. That’s where most plastics end up.

Emily explained, “It is stunning to me how this could be easily taken care of if we just were a little bit more thoughtful. One plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down. The little pieces are the real environmental threat.” She added, “That’s what a bird will eat, or a turtle, or a fish.”

“Plastic gets into our system and the kids eat it. Everybody will eat the plastic in the water. So we have to change this.” said Eric.

Thankfully, scientists have stumbled across a way to help produce reusable plastic. It would greatly reduce the amount of plastic that ends up on a daily basis. Every year 5 to 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans.  Only 5% of plastics are effectively recycled and a third end up in fragile environments.

eco friendly solutions help to prevent plastic to end up in the stomachs of marine life
Marine life harmed by plastic

There’s an app for it

If you’re ready to pick up the trash you see while doing your exercise, there’s even an app for it.

The Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum added plogging activity. You can burn 288 calories by jogging about 30 minutes and picking up trash. At least the average person does. Just jogging will only burn about 235. During brisk walking combined with the squats, the average person will burn about 120.

Emily hopes, “By being seen doing this I hope that I inspire somebody. It is all our trash. If you see it, it becomes your responsibility. It doesn’t matter where it came from.”

It’s time to embrace this eco friendly fitness trend. We should all start plogging!

Environmental factors often play a role in rare genetic mutations that are not always beneficial. Just another reason why we all should think and live in more eco friendly ways.

Before you leave… sharing is caring. Spread the word about this exercise.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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