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Plogging: The New Sustainable Fitness Craze?

Are you a fitness fanatic? Are you also trying to be more sustainable? This may be a new hobby for you!

What Is Plogging?

Plogging is a global movement that originated in Sweden, and anyone can join. It is a term that was invented by Erik Ahlstöm that refers to ‘the act of picking up trash and litter whilst jogging’. Erik began to consider those who regularly passed by litter during routine cardio workouts. Thus, Plogging was born. The word itself is a combination of the Swedish term plocka upp, meaning “to pick up,” and the English “jogging”.

What’s The Difference Between Plalking And Pliking?

These words may sound like fiction, but every day is a school day! If you are a regular outdoor exerciser but don’t like to jog, don’t worry! Plikers and Plalkers are those that do the same as Ploggers but instead walk or hike.

What Are The Benefits Of Plogging?

If you don’t exercise regularly, Plogging, Plalking or Pliking are great ways to start. It has the same benefits as normal exercise, whilst also helping to clean up the community. From aerobics to muscular workouts, lifting a loaded bag can help build up muscles you might not use in your daily life.

Every bit of litter picked up and properly disposed of makes a landscape more picturesque and healthier for both wildlife and people.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improves mood and boosts self-esteem
  • Provides extra motivation to exercise
  • Increased mindfulness and environmentalism
  • A good way to get into interval training
  • Helps to move your body in different ways
  • Makes exercise more fun and entertaining
  • Gives back to your community
  • Varies your normal jogging route
  • Protects local wildlife
  • Connects you with other like-minded Ploggers and helps to build people’s social connections

How Do You Get Started?

If you were to type the term ‘Plogging’ into Instagram, you may see over 60,000 photos of runners from all around the world taking part. Taking part in Plogging has never been simpler! Simply head over to the Plogging Twitter account PloggingUK where you will find information on local groups partaking in the newfound sport.

Alternatively, all you need is a group of runners and litter-picking equipment, and you are set to go on a run, picking up litter as you go. However, if solo is more your style, then why not pick up a bag before your run and head out to do your own Plog.

However, before you can get out there and start making a difference for yourself and the planet, you will need a new outfit with the right gear and equipment to get the job done.

Ensure that you have a decent pair of running shoes. Ploggers typically put in a surprising amount of miles per week so it is crucial that you have the right footwear.

TIP: If you have mobility issues or back problems, then a claw grabber is a good way forward to pick up rubbish and save you from bending over.

Once your feet are sorted, you then need to grab the equipment for picking up litter and other items that you find. You’ll need a good pair of gloves to protect your hands from any broken glass, sharp objects, and dirty litter you may collect. You will also need a bag to put your finds into.

TIP: Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser in your pocket as it is an ideal way to clean your hands on the go if you should get a hole in your gloves, or, just for the end of your Plog.


Where Can I Go Plogging?

You can go plogging almost anywhere that you have permission to be. Depending on where you live and the type of neighborhood you are in, you may find litter along the roadside, pavements, parks playgrounds, car parks and town centres.

Be mindful of traffic and cyclists if you are planning to pick up rubbish from along the roadside and be respectful of any private property.

Is There A Wrong Way To Do Plogging?

No! There isn’t a wrong way to do it, however, it is greatly encouraged that you snap a few photos whilst you are out with your friends and share them on social media to spread awareness of the new sustainable fitness craze. It also helps to inspire others to join in on cleaning up the environment whilst getting fit.

Here are a few more handy tips to consider if you are heading out Plogging this year:

  • Wear a safety vest: (Especially if you got out at night) A reflective safety vest can increase your visibility to drivers and help keep you safe.
  • Don’t touch your face: Your gloves should be considered contaminated, so keep them far from your face.
  • Don’t pick up needles: Disposed sharps and needles can be dangerous. Don’t pick up items such as shards of glass, broken bottles, or other items you aren’t comfortable touching even with gloved hands.
  • Use your knees: Use proper squatting technique—bending your hips and knees and sitting back when you squat down—rather than bending over from your back.
  • Scan the area before you start: Taking a quick visual surveillance of the area can help you spot any dangerous scenarios and will also help you spot the areas of notable trash to get started with.
  • Play games: To make plogging more fun, play games with yourself. Try to find a piece of trash that starts with every letter of the alphabet, or try to get 100 snack bags, or look for a piece of litter for each colour of the rainbow.

Remember, this is just as exhausting as any other workout would be, so treat it as so. Be sure and cool down and stretch properly after any type of exercise and remember, you are not only investing in your health but the planet too.

The Paper Fact File

Paper is one of the most sustainable and recycled materials in the world!

Visit the Paper Fact File to discover the facts about paper’s sustainable attributes. Some might surprise you!