How to exercise for the planet

We live on a beautiful planet, and caring for it is each of our responsibility. Making our sport eco-friendly is a fun and direct way to make a difference. 

One of the wonderful benefits of exercising outside is it gives us great appreciation of the natural world. Whatever outdoor sport we do, it’s dependent on a healthy ecosystem (there’s not much fun in running through a polluted, industrial area).

This appreciation of the outdoors naturally makes us want to preserve it, both for ourselves and our children. Here are some simple things we can do to care for our favourite local places – while keeping fit!


If you’re a jogger or walker, and have shaken your head at trash lying in your favourite outdoor spots, then this new sport is for you. Originating in Sweden, plogging is a combination of jogging and picking up litter. It became an organised activity in Sweden in 2016 and has since gone global.

Not only does it offer the health benefits of jogging or walking, it also includes movements such as squatting and bending down to pick up litter. Simply take a rubbish bag with you and try to pick up as much trash as you can. You’ll come home feeling invigorated, and also positive about making a small difference.


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Strawkling is the underwater version of plogging. It’s a combination of snorkeling and collecting plastic waste, like straws, bottles, plastic bags as you do it. It started in Australia in 2018 with Operation Straw. In 12 weeks over summer, volunteers in Manly Cover, near Sydney, collected 2000 straws. They then transformed the straws into a temporary underwater art installation.

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Accept the #trashtag challenge! Just gather a group of friends, and clean up a local spot together. The #trashtag movement is a viral social media campaign inspiring people to clean up their favourite places. Groups spend a few hours, a day, or even longer collecting trash from a place and then share the results of their clean up on social media, using the hashtag #trashtag. See some of the impressive results in the video below!

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Green gym volunteering

Once upon a time, humans didn’t need gyms to stay fit. Gardening, farming, foraging and hunting kept them strong enough. We can imitate this by making working in nature our exercise.

Green gym volunteering is perfect for practical people who like spending time outdoors. It’s an organised activity in which people passionate about their local places come together and do things like pruning trees and bushes, planting trees and other conservation work. Each meeting includes warm up exercises and refreshments.

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Keep it green

Whatever outdoor sport we enjoy, there are things we can all do to minimise harm to our natural world. The World Bank predicts that humanity is set to generate three billion tons of waste in 2050. We know plastic pollution is covering our planet, whether plastic bags in the bottom of the ocean, trash at the top of Everest and plastic microfibers in our water. Here are some small ways you can reduce your impact.

  1. Use eco-friendly water bottles. Try as best as you can to stop buying and using single-use plastic items, whether water bottles, straws, shopping bags and other things.
  2. Support eco-friendly sports brands. Take time to research which brands are making their apparel, running shoes and equipment with recycled or eco-friendly materials. Buy your gear from them.
  3. Walk, cycle or use public transport. Whenever possible avoid using cars and instead walk, cycle or take a bus or train to get to your training spot.


Josh Gale

Josh Gale

Kiwi journalist tracking adventures great and small


  1. Zuberi Muhsin makumuli

    I believe

  2. Haj bekir

    Bless you

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