Plogging is the latest environmental trend sweeping the nation. It involves incorporating litter picking into your run and we are loving the idea!

Hailing from Sweden, the word plogging comes from joining together the words jogging and plocka (the Swedish for “to pick”). And it is as simple as it sounds, just pick up some rubbish as you run! If you’re intrigued by the idea but worried that it will disrupt your flow, here are a few reasons we believe it’s well worth giving a go! Even if you do it just once a week, you will be playing a small part in making this world a slightly cleaner, greener and more positive place.

1. Cleans up your streets

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The biggest and most obvious benefit of a plog is that it can make a massive difference to the cleanliness of your streets. If everyone did their bit for the environment it would make for a much more pleasant city, town or village to live in. If you are anyway environmentally conscious you’ll have noticed the masses of litter piling up on the streets of late and it would turn your stomach. The time has come to act, play your part and get involved.

2. Burns calories

Instead of viewing plogging as slowing down your run, why not look at it as adding another dimension to your workout. It is adding in squats while jogging! According to the Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum, a half-hour plog will burn 288 calories, compared with the 235 burned by jogging alone. Then there is the additional stretching for litter that is snagged in trees, sprints to the bin and of course the added arm work out of carrying a load!

3. A healthy dose of competition

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Whether you are part of a running club, or just out jogging with a friend, why not up the stakes and make it a competition? For instance, who can collect the most trash? The loser has to bring the rubbish home to recycle. Most runners have a competitive nature so this will rope them in. Make it fun, make it social and you will be a plog convert for life.

Let’s Get Plogging: The New Initiative to Clean up Our Roads

4. The feel-good factor

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Plogging gives running more meaning. It elevates it from being something you do to lose weight, to get fit, to clear your head, to something that also gives back. And we promise you will feel good about yourself for doing it. Once you’ve done it a few times on your usual running loop, you will notice a drastic reduction of litter, which will also make your runs more enjoyable. For once you can actually take in the scenery without despairing at all the litter strewn on the side of the road. Plus you get to humble brag to your friends about doing it. We bet a few people will even stop and say thank you!

5. It’s a great distraction from the pain

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Plogging gives your run a focus. Instead of concentrating on the pain in your legs, the stitch in your side or your laboured breath, you can distract yourself with litter spotting. It takes you out of your own head and focuses your thoughts on the litter in front of you instead. It can really break up the monotony of your running routine.

Head on over to Facebook and like the Plogging Ireland page to join the community of Irish Ploggers.

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By Orla O'Muiri

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