Corona is still here and my dance school is still closed so I’ve had to come up with alternative ways to exercise. Here in Germany, we were always allowed to leave the house to take walks or practice sports, individually, outside during the whole lock down period. I thought I hated jogging but it turns out, it’s not actually that bad. Plus, I love the satisfaction of being able to run a few meters further every time.
Now, that the restrictions are becoming a little looser globally, I think a celebration of the outdoors is in order.
This month, I challenge you to try out Plogging.
Sorry what now?
Plogging is an outdoor sport that originated in Sweden and became popular through social media around 2016. Plogging is a portmanteau word (a linguistic blend of words, thank you, Wikipedia) derived from the Swedish word plocka, which means “to pick (up)” and jogging.
It’s just like regular jogging, or (power-) walking, if that’s more your flavour, while simultaneously picking up the litter you pass by and disposing of it properly. You can either pick things up and carry them with you, until you reach the next public bin, or carry a certain size bag with you and challenge yourself to keep running until your bag is full.
This is the perfect recipe for feeling great: You get your heart pumping, you listen to birds and feel the wind and sun on your skin and you also feel good about yourself, because you potentially rescued a wild animal from suffocation and prevented toxins, leeching from plastics or cigarette butts, from entering the ground water. You could consider wearing a cape and mask as you run… but I’ll leave that decision up to you.
- Find a nice nature area to go to. Right by my house, I have a forest on a hill or flat agricultural land to choose from. Both are nice and I can see cool animals when I pay attention. If you live in the city, see if you can incorporate a park in your route or run along a canal or river.
Why? There is scientific evidence, that being outside is extremely beneficial to your mental health and relieves stress, anxiety and low moods. Also, when you’re huffing and puffing, it’s better when that air you’re inhaling is as unpolluted as possible.
- Consider whether you want to wear gloves. If you intend to pick up icky stuff like cigarette butts, it might make you feel less gross. Some people also carry those tongs with them (you know the kind you got in school when you had to clean the yard as punishment for… I don’t even remember what I did). I find those tongs too much baggage, but to each their own!
- Wash your hands when you are finished.
- You can take a picture of all the litter you collected before disposal and share on social media. Popular hashtags are:
#plogging #trashtag #cleanup #plasticfree #environment #savetheplanet #recycle #plasticpollution #beatplasticpollution #plastic #ecofriendly #pollution #plasticfreeoceans #beachcleanup #noplastic #cleanuptheworld #cleantrails #gogreen #eco… and of course you can @sustainaplot on Instagram 😉
- And a special favour to me: Give quick reminders on the meaning of communal spaces to people who let their dogs shit somewhere and don’t pick it up. Or worse, put the shit in a plastic baggy and then leave the packaged shit where they just picked it up from. Or worse, throw the shit bag in a bush or tree so no-one else can clean it up either.