'Plogging' for years without even knowing it

Thursday, April 26, 2018

There are many reasons to exercise inside the YMCA.

You donít have to worry about the weather, except maybe on the drive there. It is safer, because the person lurking next to you is your own child who is ready to leave.

And if you decide you are done, you simply hop off the treadmill rather than running two miles back to your car.

Yet, one issue many people may not consider is that you are able to workout in a clean, litter-free environment.

Maintaining the building at the YMCA is no easy task and the staff works hard to keep the facility in good shape for the public.

Between energy bar wrappers which missed the garbage can, the sweat hitting the gym floor during a basketball game and the puddles of water outside the showers as people dry off, keeping the Y clean and presentable is a never-ending job but it is also a high priority.

Thankfully, picking up trash and cleaning as you exercise is not something you have to worry about inside the YMCA.

But the weather is finally turning nicer and we will be spending more and more time outdoors, biking on the highways, running on the trails and walking on the sidewalks.

If so, you can join the latest fitness craze to hit the U.S., one many of us have been doing for years without knowing it had a name: plogging.

Plogging originated in Sweden and is a mash-up of jogging and the Swedish ďplocka upp,Ē meaning pick up. In this case, picking up litter.

Essentially, when you go for a walk or a run, you are encouraged to pick up trash along your route.

This may mean taking along a plastic bag that you fill up along the way and throw away when you get home.

Perhaps, it is grabbing the plastic bottle along the sidewalk and putting it in the trash can at the city park.

Evidently, Iíve been unintentionally been plogging for years along my country road, which is a magnet for discarded beer cans and half-filled fast-food bags.

Occasionally, Iíll take a plastic bag along for my run, sometimes filling it before Iíve even gone a mile.

Other times, Iíll just carry a six-pack - empty - in my hands until I get home.

Our aluminum recycling bin at home gets filled up quickly as we put in the miles around our house.

Years ago, my husband and I used to pick up empty cigarette packs while out for our walks in McCook.

Not only were we making McCook cleaner, but we were redeeming points from the packages for prizes.

That is until Roger Schmidt from the Gazette caught onto our plan and began walking six miles a day around town.

Rest in peace, Roger.

Picking up other peopleís trash can be disgusting, but the option is to just let it sit there.

Not only does does the trash simply look bad, it can be dangerous.

For those of us who run early in the morning with minimal light, any piece of trash could be a tripping hazard.

And when we are flying down M Hill at 43 mph, we donít want anything between our tires and the pavement, not even a plastic cup, so I am thankful for the highway clean-up program administered by the Department of Transportation.

But I donít think such a program exists for McCook, so it is upon each of us as we are out and about in our community to pick up a piece of trash if you see it laying around.

Or turn it into a purposeful activityÖeven if your friends donít know it.

My morning exercise/coffee group had planned a five-mile walk earlier this week, but once again Mother Nature slipped in and ruined our plans.

What my friends did not know was that I had the plastic bags ready to go and we were going to walk, talk and pick-up trash around town.

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