Introducing you to ‘Plogging’ – the new health & environmental craze!
I’m writing this article at 6:30am from my balcony, overlooking the water which is so still that it’s mirroring the few clouds that are in the sky. The birds are singing their morning song and the warmth in the air is beginning to come through. It’s April 2019, the beaches are lovely and quiet right now, the waters are crystal clear and the sun is making more of a regular appearance – perfect for strolls in your cala favorita or on your playa preferida.
Even such a beautiful coastline, if you look hard enough, you will spot the scattering of plastic! Jess shared about the impact of plastic from a health perspective in our last article which you can find here, but today I’m going to share a sociable and ‘on trend’ way we can preserve the island while keeping our step count and fitness up!
I feel very much honoured to have been asked to join the Beach Clean Menorca team, in essence, it’s a team of people devoted to gathering like-minded people together to make our island an increasingly beautiful place to spend time on.
Individually we can make a difference, and collectively through organised cleanups like the ones Beach Clean Menorca are coordinating we can have some fun with it, meet new people and perhaps discover parts of the island we might not have been to. Many tonnes have been removed already and every small piece of plastic removed is one less piece for the sea and our beaches.
Trying to find a positive angle on a rubbish situation, I’d like to introduce you to the concept of ‘Plogging’ which is ideal for those wanting to leave the world in a healthier state, while enjoying the outdoors and looking after their body at the same time!
If you take part in a beach clean, you are joining the plogging craze that is now gathering strength around the World. Originally created and named in 2016 as ‘Plogga’ by Swedish/American Erik Ahlström, plogging comes from the words ‘plocka upp’ (pick up in Swedish) and the word jogging, fused together.
You don’t need to jog necessarily, plogging might look like a hike or a gentle stroll to you while having a carrier bag in one hand, picking up rubbish as you stroll along. People are now even competing in everything from 5K’s to Marathons with rubbish bags, collecting litter along the way.
You might be sat there thinking; “I’ve been doing this for years” – but it now has a name, and the public loves a craze, so let’s get behind this craze because out of all the trends out there, this one feels like an activity that the planet needs!
Here in Menorca we have so many beaches, pick a remote one with a few friends, plog there, enjoy a picnic and plog back. We now have a few hours devoted to beach cleans on our Menorcan Retreat adventure days with the guests, and the guests LOVE it! It’s our way of giving back to the island and there’s always a great sense of achievement and pride from all involved.
Walking or running alone is great, but by adding in some bends, squats, reaches, twists and other functional movements from gathering the litter, combined with the weight of the plastic which turns it into a weight-bearing exercise, it’s a winning combination to increase one’s mobility.
As we age, unless we’re consciously keeping active it can be very easy to become less mobile in our muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints; plogging regularly can be the perfect antidote being that it is perfect for your health and the environment.
Be conscious of your back when picking up litter and make sure you are using your legs rather than simply hinging from the hips; utilising your legs will not only strengthen the legs, but it can also help to improve your posture and reduce future knee issues.
Imagine how a toddler picks something up from the floor; they use the perfect form without ever having to be taught – we are born with an inbuilt intellect of how to move. With years of being seated so much, either in cars, offices or in our homes, we lose these natural, safe movement patterns and instead replace them for lazier, less ideal ones. Move like a toddler as much as you can, stick your butt back and bend your knees – don’t just hinge forward from the hips.
Remember every piece of plastic collected makes an impact, and every step you take and bend down to the floor you make to reach the plastic is another opportunity to keep your body moving while doing some good for our planet.
Enjoy yourself and get out there and Plog on.
Tom and Jess