Health and the environment are two of the biggest topics on the minds of Canadians these days, and a new fitness craze from Sweden offers to do a little good in both areas.
Canadians are already into many different fitness activities that promote health, stress release, and fun, but what if fitness could help the environment at the same time?
Well turns out it can…
Enter “plogging” a mashup of the words ‘jogging’ and ‘plocka upp,’ a phrase used in Sweden that means to pick up. Plogging participants go out jogging as usual, but instead of running past any discarded trash they see on their route, they simply pick it up. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, your body gets healthy and the planet does too! It’s an easy way to be environmentally conscious, which is why plogging has seen its popularity explode overseas and is now primed to do the same in Canada.
All that’s needed to get in on the action is your running shoes, a pair of gloves and a collection bag. Simply jog as normal, but when you see some trash pick it up, put it in your bag, and dispose of it properly later on. Plogging has provided an additional reason to get outside for exercise and does some real good in terms of the environment and keeping our communities looking clean.
Now is the best time of year for plogging too, as the receding snow unveils the mass of garbage that has accumulated during the winter months.
While the sport of plogging is huge in Sweden, it’s still in its infancy in Canada, but this is something that plogging enthusiast and advocate Melanie Knight aims to change. “It just seemed like the perfect combination of kind of making a small change while doing something I’m already doing on a daily basis,” said Knight.
Knight lives in Vancouver and has begun a 30-day challenge of collecting trash for ten minutes every day. She’s advocating for the cause, spreading the word on social media, and posting her daily plogging achievements on Instagram under the hashtag #10minutetidy. Knight says she found out about plogging on social media and it appealed to her straight away. Being a marine biologist and an avid jogger, it was an ideal match.
There is a lot of trash to pick up, and Knight never returns home without her bag full to the brim after her route around the False Creek seawall in Vancouver.
Now the biggest challenge is to get the word out and create ploggers out of all of us. This is something that Daniel Fuller of Stratford, Ontario is hoping to achieve through the Plogging Canada Facebook group he’s created. So far, the idea has been well received, with roughly 300 members joining the group in just a few weeks.
Sweden has embraced plogging wholeheartedly, organizing competitions, fundraisers and even creating a fitness app called Lifesum, which tracks a user’s plogging activity. In the U.S., environmental organization Keep America Beautiful is promoting plogging to encourage communities to be trash-free, and the response has been very positive.
Plogging is a great group activity and a way to add another element to the often boring activity of jogging. There is even the possibility to add other types of exercises into your routine by incorporating bends or squats as you pick up the litter.
It can also be something parents do with their children. Plogging is not only great exercise, but it helps teach the value of caring for the environment and doing your part to help out.
If you’re not especially athletically inclined, don’t let the name put you off as plogging doesn’t have to involve running or jogging. Going outside to help the environment while getting some fresh air and exercise is the main goal. It’s a great activity to get healthier while knowing you’re doing something good at the same time.
So, if you see someone jogging with a bag full of garbage, you’ll know exactly what’s going on.