From the makers of ‘hygge’ and ‘lagom’, a new trend from Scandinavia has arrived, and it is called ‘plogging’ (from ‘jogging’ and ‘pick up’, or ‘pluck’). This new fitness trend involves picking up litter while running – effectively jogging with squats. With concern escalating over the looming environmental crisis of plastic waste, and obesity continuing to be a growing threat to public health, the plogging trend is undeniably timely.
We at the global health app, Lifesum, became the first health platform to allow its users to log and track plogging, while also promoting the initiative through a partnership with Keep America Beautiful and encouraging users to #plogging on social media as they exercise and to get the full benefits, such as:
Plogging is a high-intensity activity, making it a great stress reliever. When you go for a run your heart rate accelerates and, as a result, your body releases chemical endorphins that elevate your mood. As well as releasing these feel-good endorphins, running is a form of exercise that requires less active thinking, allowing your mind to switch off and helps to let go of the troublesome thoughts that may be weighing it down.
Similar to interval training, ‘plogging’ combines a quick running step for short periods with focused lunges and squats. Interval training boosts endurance and burns more calories during and after a workout than normal running, improving fitness and fat burning for best results.
Anti – winter blues
In the darker winter months, we tend to not get enough vitamin D due to the shorter daylight hours, which is why bringing your exercise outside instead of a gym is great for getting both fresh air and some vitamin D (provided it’s not pouring rain). Going outside can also bring you closer to living a friluftsliv lifestyle – a mantra of connecting to nature which is partially responsible for making Swedes as content and healthy as they are.
But these aren;’t just my tips. David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing app, Remente, has other ideas on how ‘plogging’ benefits your mind and happiness:
Grows confidence and self-esteem
Part of the reason behind self-consciousness is a lack of control, so combining rubbish picking with running can offer a sense of control over your commute, neighbourhood, and life, which in turn builds your confidence. Regardless of weight, size or gender, exercise can quickly offer evidence of resilience and determination, not to mention weight loss, developing confidence in attractiveness and boosts feelings of self-esteem and worth.
Supports happiness and anti-depression
A big part of anxiety is being overwhelmed by too many thoughts, and if these thoughts are negative, the anxiety can switch over to a state of depression. Focusing your mind on finding, and picking up, rubbish on your run can help get your thoughts in order and deal with any negativity quickly and efficiently.
Running and helping others, the community, and environment also produces endorphins, which is the body’s natural anti-depressant. These endorphins are hormones that block pain and encourage feelings of euphoria. In other words, these hormones can make you feel more energetic, alert and happier.
Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist for Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 25 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.
Remente is a free-to- use personal development platform for individuals and businesses. The app combines psychology with brain and mental training to help users reach their full potential, complete personal and professional goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Users can track their mood through the app, as well as undertake courses on stress management, goal setting, memory, and many others. Available to download on iOS and Android.