Europeans Are Obsessed With This Green Fitness Trend
Leave it to Scandinavia, the region that popularized feel-good lifestyle philosophies like hygge and lagom, to come up with a workout that benefits our mind, bodies, and environment. Its latest export is called plogging—a combo of the Swedish words for pick up ("plocka upp") and jog ("joggning") that asks runners to do the planet a solid and pick up any litter they see along their routes.
While the term was first coined in 2016, it's seen a resurgence on social media lately. A quick search of #plogging yields hundreds of photos depicting groups of environmentally conscious athletes and solo runners gathering trash from the mountains and beaches to city streets. Dedicated plogging accounts are emerging everywhere from Sweden to Paris, and some runners are even challenging friends to take on the #binbagchallenge, i.e., collecting at least one bag of litter on every run.
Beyond being just motivation to cover more ground, stopping to pick trash up along your route could cause the thighs to burn a little more. Depending on how much you collect, your arms may start firing up too. This easy, accessible running tweak speaks to a larger shift in the wellness world toward enjoyable and community-oriented workouts that come with a low price tag. Why not give it a try on your next jog? Simply bring a small bag along and be sure to log what you find in a phone app like Litterati to help build out a global trash database. Recycle your loot properly, and ride high on the resulting endorphins and knowledge that you just did your body and the planet a small favor.
Want to do more to ease the global pollution problem? Take these quick action steps.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.