In my last column, l wrote about how random acts of kindness can cultivate happiness, and that New Year’s resolutions may be destined to fail because — while intrinsically well-intentioned — the majority are self-centered rather than outwardly focused.

A few days after that column was published, I stumbled across an article on with the title, “The new fitness craze called ‘Plogging’ will save your life and the environment.”


Plogging? If you are wondering, like I was, what the heck plogging is, you are not alone. At least for the moment. Because this latest fitness trend from Sweden already has a loyal following in Scandinavia and Germany, and is quickly starting to catch on in the United States among exercise aficionados intent on picking up trash while they run.

The term “plogging” is actually a combination of the word “jogging” and the Swedish word “plocka upp,” which means to “pick up.” In other words, to pick up — in this case, rubbish or litter — while jogging, an activity that perfectly unites the popular self-centered resolution to get in shape with an outwardly focused goal to do something positive for the environment.

And, as notes, it’s simple and easy to do. “Just grab a bag or other lightweight receptacle and head outside for some exercise, collecting any trash as you go.”

Not only do you get to spend time outdoors, but the act of bending down to grab something off the ground burns extra calories while strengthening the muscles in your legs. It’s akin to doing a squat each time you pluck a piece of garbage from the earth. reports that, “According to the Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum, which earlier this month made it possible for users to track plogging activity, a half-hour of jogging plus picking up trash will burn 288 calories for the average person, compared with the 235 burned by jogging alone. A brisk walk will expend about 120.”

For those who aren’t into running, plogging is also gaining a following among cyclists, hikers, dog walkers and paddle boarders. And, adds, “If you can find a group of friends to do it with, you can make it into a fun challenge to see who can collect the most.”

In fact, the first official plog run is rumored to have been held in Örebro, Sweeden, in 2016. Fifteen people met at a café and split into three groups of five, with each group heading off in a different direction. An hour later the groups reconvened and combined all the trash they’d collected.

Despite Örebro being considered one of the cleanest areas in town, the groups managed to collect nearly 26 pounds of trash, consisting mostly of cigarettes, napkins, plastic containers and broken bottles. Inspired by what they’d accomplished, the group made it their mission to get others to join the “plogging” movement to make the world a better, cleaner and more beautiful place, and they’ve successfully been spreading the word via social media and by asking ploggers to tag their photos with #plogging to help the craze catch on even faster.

“I’m not going to just let litter sit there. I’m not going to just walk past that plastic bottle,” plogger and Alexandria, Virginia resident Emily Wright told “It’s not that I don’t think it’s gross to pick it up. I do. But I also think it’s gross for a person to not take responsibility for it.”

In a article, Lizzie Carr, an environmentalist who helped set up Plastic Patrol — a nationwide campaign to rid inland waterways of plastic pollution — points out, “Anything that's getting people out in nature and connecting positively with their environment is a good thing."

And while plogging might not be realistic for every run, adds, “If you turn your jog into a plog once a week or once a month, or turn your walk into a palk or your hike into pike, you’ll get personal satisfaction. You’ll have an endorphin high from running, and you’ll know you’re helping your community.”