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What Is Plogging? Its Role In Boosting Your Health And The Environment

Plogging the term was made popular by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who mentioned it in his tweet post his plogging exercise at Mamallapuram on October 13, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping came visiting. A fun activity that is equally beneficial for your health and the environment. Sounds engaging? Well, that is what plogging is. A simple and easy means to clean the earth while improving your health, plogging is in no way related to blogging!

Still considered a fresh exercise craze, plogging has been around for some time now. A combination of plucking waste and jogging, plogging helps you burn those calories along with keeping the environment waste-free.

What Is Plogging?

Originated in Sweden, the fitness trend is nothing complex or intricate, it just involves jogging while picking up the waste along the route. Initially begun in small scale, the trend has become a global phenomenon now, considering the accelerating speed at which waste materials (non-degradable) are accumulating all over the world.

One of the major appeal of plogging is that, unlike the usual fitness crazes that would require you to have a paid membership or fixed times (zumba, Pilates and so on), plogging is free of any strings and just requires you to have a running shoes and a garbage bag to collect the waste [1] [2] .

Plogging For Your Body & The Earth

A simple affair on its own, plogging is indeed superior to normal jogging as it doesn't just involve jogging - but also squatting (when you bend down to pick up the waste). Apart from that, it also allows your body to take a break in between [3] .

The multi-tasking activity is indeed the need of the hour, considering the blatant plight of the climate crisis we are facing right now. If not acted upon now, the aberrant consequences will be the beginning of the end of mankind.

Now, let's read about the ways plogging can help you and the earth, together.

Health Benefits Of Plogging

  • Relieves stress: A high-intensity activity, plogging help get rid of that build-up stress. Running accelerates your heart rate, which causes the release of the 'happy hormones' - endorphin, thus improving your overall mood. Apart from the release of endorphin, running does not require your mind to actively think, allowing you to be free without the nagging of stressful thoughts [4] .
  • Burns calories: Studies have pointed out that a 30-minute plogging can help you burn around 288 calories, making it one of the healthiest ways to lose unwanted weight; thereby contributing to your fitness as well as to your weight loss regime [5] .
  • Reduces disease risk: Some of the other major benefits of plogging is that it helps promote cardiovascular health, reduces blood pressure, provides a better supply of oxygen and prevents the sudden spike in blood sugar (as your whole body is undergoing intense activity).

Some of the other health benefits of plogging are that they help build improve your bone health and strengthen your muscles. One of the major health benefits of plogging, as aforementioned, is indeed the positive impact it has on your cardiovascular health [6] .

It is also said to benefit your mental and emotional well beings, as it aids in improving your confidence levels because plogging requires you to be more aware of the things around you and interact with people.

Environmental Benefits Of Plogging

With our world being covered in plastic and waste more than waters and greens, the time has come for all us to contribute towards making a change. It is every one's responsibility, no, duty to protect and conserve what you are standing on. And, plogging is one such activity that can contribute towards the betterment of the environment [7] .

Considering the high amounts of waste getting accumulated all around us, every small action counts. With a larger and increasing amount of waste being generated every day, more than half of it is carelessly discarded all around us. Not a day passes without walking over waste dumps and coming across lush greens being suffocated by plastic garbage.

Plogging alone will not solve the problem of littering, but if every jogger and non-joggers could adopt the exercise method, it will indeed be a huge step towards eliminating the trash problem. The extreme levels of toxicity and chemicals present in the garbage pollute the soil, water and air, making the atmosphere unsafe [8] [9] .

The most common waste found on the grounds are plastic straws, plastic bags, batteries, cigarettes etc. are not only harmful to human beings but also all the flora and fauna [10] . Through plogging, although in minimal quantities, there has been a distinct shift in the attitude of people, as it promotes them not to throw around the waste as well as get encouraged to pick it off the street (also promote others to do the same).

Plogging In India

If not aware before, Indians are pretty well-reversed with the word plogging now (yes, the honourable Prime Minister has become the poster child now). With various NGOs and individual groups taking up the responsibility of conducting plogging events in the country, it is safe to say that the fitness craze is on the rise - in full force! spoke to Jacob Cherian, a Bengaluru resident who has been plogging even before he knew about the Swedish fitness craze. "I've been running cleanups since August 2016. However, I've been running Plogging Party cleanups since March 2018. We didn't even know the word plogging back when I started. I started simply to clean up one hill and people began joining me. In February of 2018, the word plogging hit social and old media, and we simply used this trendy new word and added the word Party to it".

"Riding this fad a lot of people suddenly started taking part in it. I was initially driven to clean up one particular pile of trash around my house in Kodaikanal because I found a bison eating out of it. I continued cleaning up because I found more piles of trash in different parts of those hills", he continued pointing out the detrimental waste-situation in the country.

"Plogging is good for the body in far more ways than jogging. For instance, it includes more squatting and bending over to pick up trash along the way, thereby working out at least two extra muscle groups - the core and the glutes", said the environment ninja who is also a digital marketing guru.

With easily having conducted more than 100 plogging parties, Jacob Cherian and his team of well-wishers of the earth are not stopping any time soon.

The drive and determination of individuals like him are indeed a motivation to the rest of us - reminding us that with a proper plan and action - we can save the earth, all the while improving our health. Although sceptics may say running around picking up the waste won't help save the world, that is where this quote by Matt Bevin fits, "while it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things are extraordinary."

Jacob also pointed out that, "Plogging in India is massively different from the West because very often we have to stop and work hard on a single spot for even one hour. So continuously jogging is almost impossible and has to be modified accordingly."

So the next time you come across a plogging event, do not hesitate - pick that garbage bag, tie that shoes and start picking. Or if there are no events, make one and be an example to the society like Ripu Daman and Jacob Cherian. After all, a healthy environment makes a healthy individual!

View Article References
  1. [1] Chertoff, J. (n.d.). Plogging Is the Latest Workout Trend to Benefit You and the Earth. Aaptiv
  2. [2] Auld, S. (2018, December 14). The understated benefits of plogging. The New Daily
  3. [3] UV Environment. (2018, May 2018). Plogging: The eco-friendly workout trend that’s sweeping the globe
  4. [4] NA. (2018, September 21). What is Plogging and Why Should You Try It?
  5. [5] Lee, D. C., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I. M., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as a key lifestyle medicine for longevity. Progress in cardiovascular diseases, 60(1), 45-55.
  6. [6] Lee, D. C., Lavie, C. J., & Vedanthan, R. (2015). Optimal dose of running for longevity: is more better or worse?.
  7. [7] Alwis, L. S. M., Bustamante, H., Roth, B., Bremer, K., Sun, T., & Grattan, K. T. (2017). Evaluation of the durability and performance of FBG-based sensors for monitoring moisture in an aggressive gaseous waste sewer environment. Journal of Lightwave Technology, 35(16), 3380-3386.
  8. [8] LI, W. C., Tse, H. F., & FOK, L. (2016). Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects. Science of the Total Environment, 566, 333-349.
  9. [9] Jassim, A. K. (2017). Recycling of polyethylene waste to produce plastic cement. Procedia Manufacturing, 8, 635-642.
  10. [10] El-Fadel, M., Findikakis, A. N., & Leckie, J. O. (1997). Environmental impacts of solid waste landfilling. Journal of environmental management, 50(1), 1-25.