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There's a Weird New Exercise Trend Taking Off, And It's Actually Good For The Environment

TESSA KOUMOUNDOUROS
5 MAY 2018

As plastic pollution on our planet is reaching near-catastrophic levels, we need every excuse we can get to start cleaning up our act.

Some folks in Sweden have come up with a cool new idea for curbing trash and improving your health in one activity. It's called 'plogging', and people love it so much, the trend is rapidly spreading around the world.

 

Plogging is jogging while picking up - "plocka upp" as the Swedes say - rubbish. And in return for our civic efforts, we receive a comprehensive workout without the gym fees.

 

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Daniel Fuller, a 32-year-old trainer from Ontario, Canada believes plogging offers a more engaging exercise option for those who hate the monotony of jogging.

It also works out more muscle groups than plain old running, due to all that bending, squatting and lunging to pick up trash. Not to mention carrying the added weight of the rubbish you've gathered.

Fitness app Lifesum suggests these additional movements burn an average of 53 more calories every half an hour than regular jogging, reports The Washington Post. And, if you can't jog, you can also spend calories with a brisk trash-pickup walk (#plalking).

"Getting groups to come out, get a good workout in with me and clean up the community a little bit, might help other people just to come out and enjoy the fun," Fuller told The Canadian Press.

Plogging began as a humble little social media trend sometime back in 2016. Since then, Swedish environmentalist Erik Ahlström has founded the Stockholm-based group Plogga and now more groups are forming around the world, from Mexico to India and Japan.

More than 1,200 people showed up for a dawn plogging event in Tiruchi, India on Earth Day, where residents cleaned up the banks of their formerly rubbish-choked river.

"It makes me feel good for so many reasons," Emily Wright, a US plogger, told The Washington Post. "My pants fit differently. I'm more nipped in at the waist. I think it's because of balance and flexibility."

While many of us could probably benefit from becoming a little more nipped at the waist, the health benefits of plogging do not stop there.

 

The mere act of being active outdoors can improve our mental and physical health, from decreasing stress and blood pressure, to improving our ability to focus and think creatively.

Exercising in a group has also shown positive effects on emotional and mental wellbeing. And of course, a healthy environment is beneficial for our health too.

All of this means plogging is a physical, mental, social and environmental win-win-win-win.

 

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Ok, maybe if you overthink the whole picking up rubbish bit, it could seem a little gross... but considering the frightening impacts our rubbish is having, from bloated bellied animals being starved or strangled to death, to the unknown health consequences as this stuff breaks down and enters our food chain, we've got to try something, right?

So, if more of us sling on a bag, pop on some shoes, wack on a pair of gloves and venture out into the great outdoors, with a little luck (and encouragement!) plogging could become the healthiest of runaway trends - and we'd all be the better for it.