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Looking for a fun Earth Day activity? You may want to try plogging, or picking up litter while jogging. Odd as it may sound, the new "sport" is becoming extremely popular with runners worldwide, many of whom are posting images of themselves and friends holding bags of trash on social media.
Derived from the word jogging and "plocka upp," the Swedish phrase for pick up, plogging is the brainchild of Erik Alström. In 2016, after moving to Stockholm from a small ski community in northern Sweden, Alström became increasingly agitated at the amount of trash on the road during his daily bike ride to work.
Since picking up litter while on his bike was hard to do, Alström began incorporating the activity into his daily runs. "I was shocked by the amount of junk there was in nature," he said to unenvironment.org. "The same debris could remain in the road for several weeks without anyone picking it up, so I started picking it up. It felt good in my heart to clean up even a small place."
Other joggers soon joined Alström, and, by the end of 2016, the activity became so popular that official "plogging" events, with groups of runners enrolling, began sprouting up all across Sweden. As #plogging began trending on social media, the new "sport" started to spread beyond Sweden, first to other European countries and then worldwide.
The official online "Plogga" group now boasts members from over 40 countries, all the way from United States cities like Ohio to Thailand and Ecuador. Many school running clubs are also getting in on the action, posting photographs of themselves after going plogging together, or staging competitions that reward the runner with the heaviest trash bag.
As it turns out, plogging is not just beneficial for the environment; it is also a more efficient way to exercise. According to Swedish fitness app Lifesun, an average person burns about 288 calories while plogging for half an hour. This is about 50 calories more than he/she would burn when just jogging. Additionally, the constant squatting to pick up litter increases the plogger's flexibility, while lugging around the increasingly heavy garbage bag(s) helps strengthen arm muscles.
This Earth Day, be sure to strap on your running shoes, grab a trash bag or two, and go plogging. Or better still, start a plogging team at school, or around your neighborhood, and make every day Earth Day! Most importantly, don't forget to let us know if you try this fun activity by adding your comments below.
Resources: facebook/plogga, .unenvironment.org