Plogging: Combining Fitness and Environmentalism

Plogging, a portmanteau of 'jogging' and the Swedish term 'plocka upp' (meaning to pick up), is an innovative fitness trend that combines physical exercise with environmental activism. The movement, which began in Sweden, involves jogging or walking while picking up litter along the way.

This article delves into the concept of plogging, its benefits, and its role in promoting both fitness and environmentalism.

The Birth and Spread of Plogging

The concept of plogging began around 2016 in Sweden, a nation known for its strong environmental values. An environmentalist and fitness enthusiast named Erik Ahlström is often credited with starting the plogging movement. Ahlström started to pick up trash during his daily runs in Stockholm and soon inspired others to do the same.

Since then, plogging has spread across the world, with communities and individuals embracing this eco-friendly fitness activity. Today, there are plogging groups in numerous countries, from the United States and Canada to India and Australia, organizing regular plogging events and promoting the idea through social media.

The Dual Benefits of Plogging: Fitness and Environment

Plogging offers an innovative way to improve personal health while simultaneously benefiting the environment. Here's how:


Plogging involves a lot more than just jogging. The process of bending down or squatting to pick up litter incorporates additional physical movements that provide a more full-body workout. Plogging can increase heart rate, build strength, and improve flexibility and balance.

A study by the Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum estimated that half an hour of plogging could burn around 288 calories, compared to 235 calories from regular jogging, demonstrating that plogging can indeed be an effective fitness activity.


The environmental impact of plogging is significant. By picking up litter during runs, ploggers help reduce pollution in their local communities. Litter, especially plastic waste, is a major environmental issue. It can harm wildlife, pollute waterways, and contribute to the larger global waste crisis.

By incorporating litter pick-up into their regular exercise routine, ploggers actively contribute to tackling this problem. It's a simple, direct way to make a tangible difference in one's local environment.

Plogging and Community Engagement

Plogging also has a strong social element. Across the world, plogging groups organize regular events, bringing people together for communal litter-picking runs. These events often have a festive, social atmosphere and are a way to meet new people, build community spirit, and spread awareness about environmental issues.

In addition, many plogging groups partner with local schools, businesses, and government agencies to organize larger community clean-up events, extending the environmental impact and fostering a wider sense of community involvement.

Plogging: A Step Towards a Sustainable Future

Plogging is more than just a fitness trend—it's a movement that encapsulates the increasingly interconnected nature of health and sustainability. It's about understanding that our personal well-being is intimately connected with the health of our planet. Plogging, at its heart, is an act of care—for ourselves, for each other, and for the world in which we live.

In an era of increasing environmental concerns and health issues, movements like plogging offer a way forward, an approach that unites fitness, environmentalism, and community spirit. By picking up the pace and a piece of litter, we can all take steps towards a healthier, cleaner future.