Move over hygge – there’s a new Scandinavian trend in town. Though 2017 was all about coziness and homespun pleasures, the latest big trend out of Sweden is about whipping the body and environment into shape.
Plogga – a title combining the Swedish words for “to pick” and “run” – is the hot new trend for runners. Though environmentally-conscious runners are nothing new (“pack it in, pack it out” has been a generally-accepted rule of runners for years) this is the first time the practice has been organized into a full-on running trend. Founded in 2016 by Swedish environmentalist Erik Ahlström, plogga involves organized running groups equipped with gloves and garbage bags. The objective? Pack out as much trash as you can from the trail or sidewalk.
It’s kind of genius, if you think about it – after all, picking up garbage is an unglamorous activity for many. But runners, who are naturally competitive, get an outlet for one-upmanship with plogga. Though plogging events aren’t competitions, many participants can’t resist the urge to pick up the most amount of trash in the shortest amount of time.
As evidenced by the many social media posts with hashtags #plogga and #plogging, the craze has caught on around the world. Organized plogging groups are popping up everywhere from Paris to Mexico. At last month’s Outdoor Retailer trade show, Ahlström and his crew led the first-ever plogging expedition in and around Denver.
In addition to helping the environment, the practice of plogging provides some big benefits for the runner – namely, in the form of squats and lunges performed while picking up trash. Who knew such good cross-training could come from a grocery sack and a pair of rubber gloves?