Plogging: the curious sport that helps clean the planet

Plogging is the result of the union between sport and care for the environment.

People practicing Plogging

Photo: Aquae Foundation

LatinAmerican Post | Julieta Gutiérrez

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Leer en español: Plogging: el curioso deporte que ayuda a limpiar el planeta

The history of Plogging began in 2016, when a Swedish athlete named Erik Ahlstrom used to pick up the plastic waste that he found on the road every time he accompanied his son to school. Then, he began to create sessions with the neighbors to collect garbage as a group. But it was not until he moved to Stockholm that he decided to pick up all the rubbish that was on the ground and play sports at the same time. “If you go out to play sports in nature or in your city, take advantage of it and bend over and clean the floor. Leave no trace of plastic or other waste," said the athlete during an interview for the Podcast of the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.

This was the beginning of Plogging. A global movement that uses running and other outdoor sports to clean cities or natural spaces of all kinds of non-organic waste. Its etymology comes from the Swedish expression plocka upp, which means (to pick up), and from jogging.

In this way, Ahlstrom's ecological and sports practice expanded throughout Sweden and today, thanks to the immediacy of social networks, it has become a global phenomenon. According to data from the official site of this sport (www.plogga.se), currently more than 20,000 people practice Plogging in more than 90 countries around the world.

The idea of this sustainable initiative is very simple, since it consists of its participants or ploggers, climbing a mountain, jogging along the beach or going for a walk in the street with a garbage bag and some gloves, to collect all the inorganic waste that they meet during their sports practice.

Plogging takes care of your body and the environment

Practicing this ecological sport will not only bring great benefits to your physical and mental health, it will also help clean the environment in which you live. But to be more specific, we share with you the main fruits that are obtained when carrying out this exercise:

  • Plogging gives you the option to increase your self-esteem while taking care of nature and strengthening your environmental awareness.
  • This sport is perfect for working on physical intensity. Since the exercise of bending over to pick up and get back up, it is an ideal way to work on toning the buttocks and legs.
  • This practice of collecting plastic waste from our environment helps to avoid or reduce the contamination of soils, rivers, and oceans.
  • The fact of walking or jogging while collecting garbage helps reduce the risk of heart problems, since it increases lung capacity and improves digestion.
  • It is an ideal way to lose weight. Because every time you run, jog, or walk, you burn calories.
  • It is an exercise made for all ages, levels and tastes, since it can be practiced in a wide variety of sports such as running, hiking, snorkeling, diving, skating, cycling, among others.
We recommend you read: 7 Environmental Volunteers you Can Do in 2023

Tips for 'Plogging'

Now that you know the main advantages of practicing Plogging, we want to share with you some tips that the official website of this sport ( www.plogga.se ) recommends making this sustainable sports initiative an increasingly entertaining and fruitful practice.

  • Run quick, short runs. If your desire is to optimize cardiovascular performance, it is advisable to run less than 10 kilometers, but adding more intensity to the session such as jumping, changing pace or climbing.
  • Practicing Plogging in a group is the best option. This activity will be more profitable and more fun if you practice it with your friends or family. Since they can create sports dynamics with scoring and challenges.
  • Mix cleaning the environment with different exercises. The official Ploggers page advises bending over to pick up the trash with squats or one-legged curls. Because by doing these kinds of moves, you'll help improve mobility in your hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Try practicing Plogging with other sports. As we mentioned before, this great initiative is open to any kind of outdoor sport. Don't hesitate to experiment with cleaning your environment, whether it's riding a bike, rowing, or even sanitizing the ocean through scuba diving. The important thing is that the sport you do makes you feel comfortable and efficient.
  • Share your Plogging practice on your social networks. Generate digital content with the hashtag #Plogging. This can help motivate your contacts to join this great initiative that cares for health and the environment.