Imagine this – it’s a beautiful Sunday morning, you’re on your routine jog. The only thing spoiling your happy mood and disturbing your run is the occasional litter that you see on the road. This is exactly what happened with Sweden’s Erik Ahlström. Frustrated with the amount of litter he saw while riding his bike to work each day, Erik decided to do something about it. Stopping to pick up litter became a habit and then a part of his exercise routine as he began to incorporate this activity into his runs. Others started joining him and ‘plogging’, which is basically picking up + jogging, became one of the coolest and probably the best fitness trends to ever exist.
It’s simple enough and self-explanatory - plogging is picking up litter that you see on the road as you jog. Apart from being a satisfying solo routine, plogging can also be a great group activity. It has already reached the streets of a lot of European countries and is fast gaining popularity as more and more people become aware of its benefits, that are not restricted to just physical but also mental and environmental. Here are a few of its benefits:
- Includes functional movements:
Jogging by itself has a lot of benefits. It’s great for your bones, strengthens your muscles and improves cardio-vascular fitness. Combine picking up litter with this and you have your own trendy functional fitness routine. What is functional fitness you ask? It involves training that prepares your body for real-life movements and activities that you might do at home, in school or sports. Think of all the activities you’ve been doing as a child – bending, crawling, reaching out to pick something up – they all classify as functional movements.
- Has characteristics of interval and mobility training:
When you stop jogging to pick up litter, you put in some time for recovery which improves fitness and fat burning.
- Improves agility and balance:
Since this activity involves you running around with a garbage bag and thus different weights in your hands, it improves your balance and agility. Plus, bending down to pick up litter extends the range of motion that you are using – and having to carry around a bag of trash burns calories a lot faster.
- Burns more calories:
Research proves that half an hour of plogging burns 288 calories which is around 60 calories more than the approximate 225 calories burned during regular jogging in the same time period.
- Feel-good factor:
Running definitely feels great. Add to that the amazing feeling of knowing that you are contributing towards a cleaner environment and that’s it – your mind is in its happiest state!
So are you all set to join the craze of plogging? All you need is pair of good running shoes, a sturdy garbage bag - and you would probably want to don a pair of gloves too! Go fit, go clean!