From lagom, a Swedish method for a balanced life to hygge, the Danish approach to coziness, several wellness trends have emerged from Scandinavia. Now, there’s a new buzzy Swedish trend focused on eco-friendly fitness called plogging, and it’s quickly gaining traction.
A melding of the word jogging and the Swedish word “plocka upp” — meaning “pick up” — plogging is a combination of jogging and picking up trash. Individual environmentalists and athletes around the country are getting involved. Sweden-based organization Plogga hosted its first official U.S. event last January in Denver and is encouraging individuals to start their own groups locally.
No matter your fitness level, you can join the movement. “Plalking,” aka, walking and picking up litter, is another associated term. Either way you plog, every bend to grab litter is like a squat, and you’ll be amazed at how many you’ll get in on one trip around the neighborhood. Swedish-based app Lifesum, which allows users to track plogging, estimated that a half hour of jogging plus picking up trash burns 330 calories, compared with 270 calories burned by jogging alone.
Whether it’s picking up cigarette butts or abandoned water bottles, plogging groups are making a dent in the earth’s trash. “Plogging is brilliant because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities,” said Mike Rosen, former senior vice president at Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit focused on litter prevention. “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.”
Give it a try solo or start a plogging group in your neighborhood. Simply pick a central location where everyone can meet and choose different routes to travel each week. Just remember to bring some gardening gloves, trash bags and an open mind.