WASHINGTON — Many athletes have been doing it for a long time without even knowing it is now a fitness trend. It’s called plogging, a combination of jogging and picking up. And what is being picked up is trash. The Swedes are credited with starting the trend and now it’s spreading in the United States. Many athletes in Washington seem to like multi-tasking with a group of likeminded runners and keeping their city clean and beautiful.
A sunny and breezy day is perfect for plogging.
“I didn’t know it was a thing, really,” Jeff Horowitz, a personal trainer at Vida Gym in Washington said. Horowitz has been plogging for a while.
“This is just my personal ethics, where I would go for a run and if I happen to see a piece of garbage laying around and it’s within my reach. It was a kind of a little test for me to see if I can grab it and throw it in a near trash can without stopping. That way I thought it gave me a little bit of exercise, a little focus for my run and helped clean up the neighborhood. Then I come to find out that it has actually become an international movement, that there are people all around the world that are doing this,” Horowitz said.
Getting ready to plog is similar to getting ready to jog.
“We usually start by doing some body weight squats, some calisthenics, some balance work and just reviewing exactly what we’re going to do and of course the route we’re going to take. Gloves are important. You want to make sure this is going to be healthy for you. Even you’ve good intentions, you never know what you’ll find. It might be broken glass, medical waste,” Horowitz said.
There are rules for plogging.
“You can’t suddenly bend over in front of someone else. It becomes like a three stooges’ event and you’ll end up falling over. You want to make sure you kind of cover a little bit different territory. People kind of naturally follow that rule. So, if I’m a little bit more to the curb side, I’ll look toward the gutter and someone else a little bit closer to the hedges they’re going to pick up there. So you get a rhythm going between people without sometimes agreeing to it,” Horowitz continued.
Sports event organizer, Dana Allen, finds plogging interesting, but admits she doesn’t do it all the time.
“When I’m running seriously, in training for a marathon, I probably wouldn’t be as inclined to stop regularly because I’m focusing on a certain goal. But then there are other days, where I’m out and into sort of a more relaxed running that would be a situation where I might do it,” Allen said. “Sometimes we get groups together on a Saturday or Sunday. We go for run, pick up some garbage, then we go for brunch. We kind of make a little bit of event of it.”
Encouraging more people to plog helps raise awareness about Washington’s litter problem, says Julie Lawson, who works with the mayor’s Cean City Office.
“When the street looks bad and it’s dirty, you’re going to feel bad about the neighborhood, about the community. You may even feel less safe because of that. So if we’re all doing our part and picking it up, it’s very easy to help beautify it, help build those social connection, you get to know your neighbors, you get to feel some social responsibility and community feel, when you do this,” Lawson said.
Plogging also helps advance a city-wide fitness initiative.
“FitDC is Mayor (Muriel) Bowser’s initiative to get DC back to number one in the country as the fittest city in the nation. And as part of that our Department of Parks and Recreation put up a couple of plogging events combining fitness activities with beautifying the city. We look to continue to support that,” Lawson said.
Azell Washington says participating in plogging events makes him feel better.
“It would clear a lot of space for me. And I’m rewarded myself,” Washington said.
Plogger Allen hopes one day there wouldn’t be a need for plogging.
“I would just hope people around would think twice before dropping a garbage on the ground. We have receptacles, seems like every block. So, it’s easy to put your garbage in the trash can. So, I just think people should think about it a little bit more and be cognizant of keeping the city as beautiful as possible.,” Allen said.
That is the message ploggers hope people on the street will get, when they see them running and picking up trash.
Source: VOA news