Man bends down to pick up trash

Let’s go plogging!

This post comes from Sarah McMichael, senior marketing specialist at Ontario Parks.

Have you ever spotted leftover trash along our roads, sidewalks, and trails?

How many times have you walked past this trash while out for a walk, run, or jog? Did you pick it up, or leave it on the ground?

A new environmentally friendly workout trend is encouraging you to stop and pick up litter during your outdoor exercises.

It’s called plogging, and it’s an amazing way to keep our environment and our bodies healthy at the same time.

What is plogging?

Woman bends down to pick up trash
Photo: Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

It may have a funny name, but the concept of plogging is simple.

Eco-friendly folks head out for a jog, and bring an empty garbage bag to pick up trash along the way. During your jog, you are prepared to pause, and pick up litter as you see it.

Garbage in the backcountry

All you need is:

  • An empty bag (try using a reusable bag!)
  • Gloves (again, reusable is best)
  • Running shoes

Plogging can be done on your own or as a group. Either way, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can fill up a bag of trash during a short jog!

Plogging started as a fitness trend in Sweden in 2016. It spread from country to country, and now people all over the world are taking up plogging as a way to get their workout in while taking care of our environment.

Good for mind and body

Two joggers stretch
Photo: Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Plogging actually makes a great workout!

The movement of bending over to pick things up works new muscle groups in your body.

For an even better workout, avid ploggers can add in lunges or squats. If you combine this with the cardio exercise of a jog, you’re looking at a great way to stay fit.

Plus, taking your workout outdoors has a myriad of health benefits on its own!

Nature has been proven to be good for our minds and bodies. The Healthy Parks Healthy People movement celebrates the positive effect nature has on our health.

Women run on beach

Exercise in nature has a more positive effective on blood pressure and mood than exercise in a gym. Contact with nature has also been found to strengthen the immune system, help mitigate disease, and reduce stress levels.

And don’t forget about the mental benefits! Memory performance and attention span also improve 20% after spending just an hour interacting with nature.

Protecting the environment

Landscape of waterfalls and trees with blue sky

Plogging is about something bigger than just getting a workout in. It’s about doing your part to protect our natural environment.

At Ontario Parks, we strive to protect and restore diverse ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems sustain healthy people and a healthy economy.

Picking up trash is your way to turn an everyday jog into an interactive opportunity to give back to these valuable ecosystems. Cleaning up garbage also keeps it away from our wildlife, preventing dangerous repercussions for them.

Woman pauses during jog to pick up trash
Photo: Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Are you ready to take on plogging?

Go the extra mile and register your plogging cleanup with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Select a date and time on the Lead a Cleanup map, and be part of the national network of volunteers taking action to help waterways.

Make sure you document your plogging efforts online with #plogging!

Happy trails!