Activism meets exercise in a new fitness trend sweeping social media. Get ready to hear a lot more about "plogging"—a combination of the word "jogging" and the Swedish phrase "plocka upp" which means "pick up."
Plogging is essentially regular old jogging but with an eco-friendly upgrade. Here's how it works: While jogging through a park or neighborhood trail, instead of simply focusing on your pace or jamming out to a killer running playlist, plogging implores runners to pick up some litter along the way. It's like being a good Samaritan on the go.
The Scandinavia-born workout feels like one of those made-for-social-media trends, but there are some serious benefits of this new take on running—the first obviously being that you're getting a good sweat.
At its core, plogging is basically just jogging, but as you stop to pick up a plastic bottle here and there, you're also getting the added benefit of intermittent squats. Hello, strength and mobility training! Swedish health app Lifesum estimates the average user burns 288 calories for every 30 minutes spent plogging. (To be fair, regular running burns a comparable amount.)
Mentally, plogging is a nice distraction when your run might otherwise be dragging—instead of counting the strides until you log another mile, you'll be too busy spotting trash to realize you've already clocked a 5K. On particularly trying runs, plogging can feel like a game—sprint from one piece of litter to another, where you can stop for a breather and a few squats or burpees. (Here's a running interval workout that can guide you through those bonus moves.)
Then there are the earth-friendly effects of going for a plog: "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 Mike Rosen, senior vice president at Keep America Beautiful (an organization encouraging plogging in the U.S.) 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." (Not to mention, the act of cleaning and organizing can do wonders for your mental health.)
Truth: Plogging probably isn't going to replace your regular marathon training plan. That's okay. But think of it this way: When you get the urge to spend a Saturday volunteering for an earth-friendly cause in your community, you can turn that time into a double-duty workout by plogging. Good for your bod and your conscience.
Down to plog? Visit iwanttoberecycled.org to find your nearest recycling center and plan your plogging route accordingly. (Feeling inspired? Try these other small lifestyle tweaks to effortlessly help the environment too.)