Health · Home life · Sport · Word of the week

Word of the week: plogging

Just like emirp and plangonologist, here’s another word that hasn’t made it into the Oxford English Dictionary yet: plogging. A note from my son’s school tells me that this week he will be taking part in his first plogging session, during PE, and explains:

“Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter (Swedish: Plocka upp). It started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. As a workout, it provides variation in body movements by adding bending, squatting and stretching to the main action of running, hiking or walking.”

This could finally be a form of exercise that I can join in with. Back in 2017, when my daughter did her first parkruns, I was hoping to get fit enough to accompany her on her 5km runs. As this piece notes, I didn’t reach my target, and still haven’t. I got as far as an 18-minute run in August that year, but no further. The pains in my left knee were too severe. I took professional advice, which means I paid both an osteopath and a fitness coach to tell me where I was going wrong. It turned out that my left knee wasn’t a problem, yet. The problems were elsewhere in my left leg: a weakness in the ankle and weak gluteal muscles (or glutes, as most people call them). The knee was doing all the work and if I’d carried on with the same running regime it would have suffered sooner or later. The way around this is a set of exercises to strengthen the ankle and glutes on my left and spread the workload more evenly, which is how things are with my right leg: the ankle, knee and glutes all work together as they should.

For a few weeks back in 2017 I followed this new exercise routine daily, to strengthen the relevant parts of my left leg, but it’s been many months since I did so. I did, at least, stop running, so my left knee no longer hurts. I am not doing the right thing (which would be to strengthen my left leg and try to get fit again) but I have stopped doing the wrong thing (running in a way that would have damaged my left knee, possibly permanently). My actions, or lack of them, are comparable to how I (and most of us) deal with litter. I am not doing the wrong thing (which would be to drop litter) and nor am I doing the right thing (which would be to pick it up). Plogging could be the answer to my inaction on two fronts: a bit of exercise and helping to clear rubbish from our local parks.




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