Wokingham.Today

Plogging: clean up your fitness

Sam Akhtar
Sam Akhtar is combining litter picking with jogging to stay fit and clean up

IT’S THE ultimate win-win as it cleans up and keeps you fit and now a Charvil resident is hoping you’ll join him.

Sam Akhtar, who runs the Charvil Matters community group, has been organising litter picks for a couple of years now, and in that time has successfully managed to rope in the help of his MP, Theresa May, to clear up the A4.

Now he’s put his running shoes on as he goes plogging – a portmanteau fusing picking up litter with jogging.

“It was something that came up in a conversation with a friend,” he says. “It’s a big thing in Sweden which has spread. There’s around 20,000 people doing this globally.”

He undertook his first plogging run last month, using a bag and picker sticks, but he found that difficult to manipulate while on the move. So he’s preparing to run again but with a rucksack on his front. He’ll wear gloves and pick up the litter manually.

“It doubles up as interval training because you’re start stopping, it’s quite an effective workout,” he says. “It’s almost like a natural circuit, and there’s an added endorphin hit as well, so you come away from it feeling very happy about things, which is important at the moment, isn’t it?”

Sam adds: “Charvil Matters has been 100% worthwhile. Since we’ve been doing it, we’ve had an increased interest in residents just doing litter picks generally.”

He’s had help from the parish council, and others wanted to make their corner of the world a better place.

“We do enjoy it, families see it as an activity to do and it gets you out of the house at a time when we’ve all found ourselves being more solitary. You’re out and about, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air. It’s win win, it really is.”

Sam is planning to go plogging again later this month and then again in April.

But don’t expect him to do a marathon while he’s doing it.

“We recommend people do it for half-an-hour because unless you’re super fit, which I’m not yet anyway, you start to struggle after that because it’s harder than doing a consistent run.”

For more details, search for Charvil Matters on Facebook.

Sam is a Conservative candidate in the forthcoming local elections

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