Your running routine is going well. You’re fit, energized and possibly training for a local race. There is something you can add to your workout that may change things up in unexpected ways. It involves saving the planet and it’s called plogging.

A Swedish Import

It all started in Sweden, a fitness craze that involves jogging and picking up trash. “Plocka upp” means “pick up” in Swedish and combined with jogging, “plogging” was born. Erik Ahlström, the founder of Plogga, a Stockholm based running group, aims to galvanize the city’s runners to pick up litter as they run. Environmentalists all over the world are joining in, fired up by the Instagram tag #plogging.

Groups have spread throughout Scandinavia and Europe and they have arrived on US shores. Trash runs were a part of some running groups in the US, but they never took off like #plogging. You can plog individually or as a group and all you need is a plastic bag and some gloves.

Getting Started

When you go for your next run, why not make it a plogging run? Once a week or whatever fits into your schedule, run to make your usual route litter-free. Plogging removes bottles, papers, and plastics from streets and trails. Because you’ll be squatting and bending during your run your workout will be tougher than usual. A half hour of plogging can burn 50 more calories for the average person than jogging alone.

Not only will you be cleaning up your community, but you’ll be helping out the local wildlife too. The potentially deadly effects of tossed plastics on wildlife has been well documented.

A Growing Phenomenon

When you arrive at the beach on your next vacation, spend a morning plogging along the coast. Waterways such as rivers and streams deposit new debris along their shores after each heavy rain. The amount of deposited plastic can be astounding. There is an army of runners out there ready to make a real difference in the environment. After all, by 2050 it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Easy access trails along rivers are great spots for picking up trash and why not help save the planet’s oceans on a run? You can expand your reach by integrating plogging into other activities. On your next hike or biking adventure, you just may find yourself on your first ‘plike’.