Scandinavia has brought us various wellness trends in the last few years, with the Danes’ love of hygge encouraging us to get cozy during winter, while lagom from Sweden advised “everything in moderation” for a more balanced lifestyle all year round.
It is now Sweden’s turn again to get us all hooked on a new trend, this time in the form of “plogging.”
A combination of the Swedish words for “run” and “pick up,” plogging involves picking up litter during your run, making the new sport not only good for your health but also the environment.
Although it has already been popular for a couple of years in its native Sweden, plogging is quickly spreading to other European countries such as the UK, Germany, and France, and even as far as Mexico and India. There has been a flurry of Instagram posts from “ploggers” in the last few days alone, accompanied by the hashtag of the moment, #plogging.
Although its rise in popularity has been sudden, it is probably not surprising, with increasing concern around environmental issues such as climate change, air pollution, and more specifically related to plogging, the global levels of plastic use and waste.
But as well as helping to clean up the planet, plogging also brings personal health benefits.
Although some may not like the idea of constantly stopping and starting during their run, breaking to pick up litter before shooting off again will turn your run into a form of interval training, often shown to be an effective way to not only boost fitness levels but also lose any excess weight.
It’s also a good way for beginners to get started with running, as you can take breaks and run shorter, more comfortable distances until you build up your endurance. Squatting down and bending over to pick things up will also benefit runners of all levels, helping to work different muscle groups and extending the range of motion.
And unlike other forms of running, such as long-distance training, plogging is perhaps even more effective with friends. More hands will not only lighten the work and enable you to pick up even more trash, but plogging in a group will also add a social element to your run which can help keep you motivated.
If you don’t know anyone interested in plogging with you, many groups are now popping up in cities such as Paris and Edinburgh, encouraging runners both old and new to get off the treadmill and head outdoors into nature, or to explore the city. Which of course can be enjoyed even more once it is litter free.