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What exactly is a plogger? Plogging is the latest Scandinavian exercise trend, and it's starting to gain traction in the United States. It's the eco-friendly way to exercise.
While running along the side of the road or even along a path, you probably notice litter laying around. Some would continue to run past it. A plogger would stop, lunge or squat down and put the trash in the bag they were carrying.
The word plogging combines jogging with the Swedish word plocka upp—meaning pick up—and that's exactly what the workout is. It combines going for a run with squatting down or lunging to collect litter. Ploggers usually carry a plastic bag with them to collect litter to dispose of properly later.
Lifesum, a health app, added plogging as a workout in early February and is the first app to do so.
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Laura Lindberg lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, and not long ago incorporated plogging into her workouts.
"I recently discovered the joy that is adding garbage collection to my runs," Lindberg said.
Lindberg didn't know what plogging was until she read an article about it. She said it caught her eye because she thought plogging was a funny word. After reading, she decided it seemed easy enough. Since she already spent four to five days a week outside running, she gave it a try.
"It's free, it's easy and it is a benefit to my community," Lindberg said.
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She brings along a plastic shopping bag to collect the litter in. She also wears a pair of reusable gardening gloves to protect her hands.
"I typically will run my first mile kind of tracking out all of the litter along the course and then backtrack to pick it all up," Lindberg said. "Or I will start picking it up along the way. It depends on my mood and how much garbage I see."
Hoboken is a pretty small city. With streets running north to south and east to west, it's like a big grid. It's easy for Lindberg to find sidewalks and bike paths to run along. She tends to stick to the area she lives, since that's where the most garbage seems to pile up.
While she's collecting the garbage, she tries to keep a mental note of what she has collected. This way she knows what can be kept in her garbage bag versus what can go in a recycle bin.
Lindberg uses Lifesum as a way to track her exercise. She says the app does all the calculations for you, which makes it easy to track your workout.
"You're doing these extra motions that don't naturally occur while running and you can track your exercise a little bit differently with these extra movements, which I think is pretty cool."
The calculations are done based on the length of the activity. On average, a person can burn 288 calories per half hour of plogging, according to Lifesum.
Lindberg said that although no one has stopped to ask her what she's doing, she's noticed people looking her way, probably wondering. It's not often you see someone running with a bag of garbage.
"I think I may be the only one in Hoboken collecting garbage while I run," Lindberg said.
Lindberg encourages anyone who is upset with the amount of litter they see in the places they run to try plogging.
"If this is something that another person is motivated about, if you want to have a hand in cleaning up your sidewalks [and] streets in your community, there's no reason to be bitter about litter, you can take some action and get out there," Lindberg said.
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