When you see someone bending to pick up the trash as they jog, putting the garbage in to a gunnysack, don’t be surprised, they are probably ‘plogging’, a new trend that has hit the fitness buffs across India.
Shocked by the amount of junk mangling the mother earth, while cycling to work daily, running lover Erik Ahlström of Sweden came up with the idea of plogging in which the joggers pick up garbage as they run. The word plogging comes from a fusion of two Swedish words ‘plocka’ and ‘jogga’, which mean ‘picking up’ and ‘jogging’.
Well, ploggers out here in India are doing it with a tint of variance. Bengaluru resident Jacob Cherian’s plogging team comprises ‘pokers’ who pick the trash, and ‘baggers’ who carry the trash bags and ‘spotters’ who spot the trash. Everyone gets to do a different task at every event so as to strike a balance.
Plogging is proven to burn more calories than a normal run since ploggers incorporate some more movements than normal running, such as squats when you bend down to pick up litter. It also requires more arm strength to hold the garbage bags.
Explaining the health benefits of plogging in a mail, Erik Ahlström says, “Half an hour of plogging on an average burns 288 calories compared to just 235 calories from regular jogging. Plogging will also protect our children from eating micro plastic in future. We could also save seabirds, fish, and cows from dying due to plastic consumption.”
Delhi-based artist Shuchi Khanna, who belongs to a fitness community called Squats, initiated a plogging event in the capital a month ago. The 35-year-old says, “The community has now gone beyond plogging and has spread its wings to take up social issues also.”
The primary purpose of plogging is to promote the act of cleaning the surroundings; especially in India where cleaning up was relegated to only certain sections of society. The word plogging breaks that taboo and suddenly makes it cool and accessible for everyone to participate. And it keeps you healthy, too. “And we are planning more such events in future,” Khanna says.
Jacob, whose digital agency provides marketing services for NGOs that work with animals and children, lends a hand in cleaning forest areas and hill stations.
“The running and trekking involved in plogging has a direct benefit on legs. Bending over to pick up for hours on end is great for the core and lower back. It is a great mental exercise to constantly being on the lookout for stray litter,” says Jacob, who has written to hoteliers and Kerala officials with a proposal to clean around 20 hill stations.
“We intimate people either on Facebook or call them, and many regular members and newcomers join us every time. Our Facebook page has also helped garner a gang of green crusaders. We gear up with gloves and bags to pick up trash. The group members push each other to pick up more and more trash, and the energy is infectious. The session continues for nearly 60 minutes and everybody is exhausted, but elated at the end,” he shares.
Plogging not only makes the earth green, but also gives a new lease of life to the society at large. Ploggers across the cities apart from indulging in a healthy routine are making difference in the lives of their peers in need.
So the next time you go for a jog, try stopping to gather any garbage while you are at it—as your body and the environment will thank you.
Benefits of plogging
■ If you plog for just 30 minutes, you’ll burn about 288 calories
■ Carrying around a bagful of trash helps burn calories way quicker
■ If you fit in some additional exercises as you bend to pick up litter, it keeps your heart rate pumping
■ Above all, it helps improve the health of our planet, which in turn, will give us healthy air to breathe.