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Everyday Adventure: The Art of Plogging

This year at Kendal Film Festival, FINDRA are hosting the Everyday Adventure Session. Before we head to Kendal, we chatted to Jo Moseley (@healthyhappy50) who’ll be taking part in the panel and is starting with FINDRA as a new brand ambassador.

 

Jo, it’s so great to have you on board as a new ambassador for FINDRA. You’re a very busy lady, so out of all of the activities you fit into your spare time, which do you find to be the most relaxing?

Thank you so much! I am absolutely thrilled & honoured to be part of the FINDRA team.

That’s a great question!

I think the most relaxing is swimming in the sea with my fins. I love to swim away from the shore & tread water in the same spot. The fins make me feel so strong & confident in the waves. As the North Sea is rather chilly, my breathing really begins to calm down and I find it so soothing. I look up at the sky & follow the seagulls sweeping into the sea, watch the oystercatchers scurrying across the sand & dog walkers enjoying an early morning hike along the beach.

After a little while, I swim along the shore on my back (like an otter!) which is great fun! I then take off my fins and try & run through the water at waist or shoulder height. Oh my gosh, that is so hard but so much fun!

The whole experience is beautiful and very mindful. No ‘phones or To Do Lists, just living in the moment.

If the sun is sparkling on the sea it is like swimming in a trail of golden glitter. It’s such a beautiful way to start the day and calms all my stresses. I love snorkelling too, which is unbelievably relaxing. However, I like to stay in the sea for at least an hour and in the winter that would be very cold on my face and there’s not much to see! More of a summer love!

That sounds magical. So, we heard you take part in plogging. That’s a new word for us, can you explain a little more about what it means?

Oh I’d be delighted to – I’m a big fan! I’m sure you’ve also heard that it is one of the entries for the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2018! Plogging is a mixture of the Swedish “Plocka Upp” meaning to pick up & jogging. It started as an organised activity in 2016 in Sweden by Erik Ahlstrom. He had moved to Stockholm and noticed the litter & plastic pollution. Erik created the Plogga website and encouraged other people to get involved.

I was fortunate enough to meet him at Love Trails Festival this summer & hear him speak so passionately about Plogging & the difference we can make.

So, some people choose to run and pick up litter along the way – carrying it until they reach a bin or recycling point. Others do it at the beginning or end of their run, essentially where they start and stop. Or you can mix it up on different days. Ultimately it’s up to you and is a simple & rewarding way to make a difference to the roads, parks & hills, leaving them in a better state than you find them.

Do you think it would be a good method for someone to get into jogging who may have never run before?

Yes, I think it could be the extra motivation someone might need to get outside in the fresh air & add to the enjoyment once there! One of my projects this year was to a 2 minute litter pick or beach clean wherever I am each day. I know having this goal has given me an extra motivation to get outside & move on days I might not quite feel like I want to! Once I’m there, 2 minutes leads to 4 and I realise just how wonderful it is to be in the fresh air doing something purposeful and off I go!

One of the extra bonuses is that it involves lots of stretching, squats, stops and starts as you pick up! Stopping for a little breather is great too!

When you first starting getting active, did you find everybody around you to be positive about it?

Oh yes! I started getting active aged 48 when I was anxious, not sleeping and overwhelmed by life. My parents were both going through chemotherapy and as a busy, working Mum flying solo with my teenage sons, I felt very stressed.

One day we were in the supermarket after school and I burst into tears!

We were standing in the biscuit aisle and I was sobbing saying I simply couldn’t cope. After telling a friend what had happened she asked how much regular exercise I took. I replied “not much” which roughly translates as “virtually nothing!”. She then very kindly lent me an old rowing machine to try.

Within a couple of weeks I was sleeping well and everything in life felt brighter and better. I think my renewed confidence and happiness had a positive impact on my sons and parents, so it was a good thing all round! It’s always a bonus for a teenager to go shopping with his Mum and she isn’t crying next to the chocolate biscuits!

 

If there’s one bit of advice you could give someone who wants to get outside, but doesn’t know where to start, what would you say?

Ooh good question! It’s something I am often asked and and the answer is very simple: start where you are, start today and start small. Do what you can with what you have.

So, a five minute walk in the park and then each day go a little faster or further. An Aquafit class or twenty minutes in the pool. A short bike ride round the block. Try the fabulous Couch to 5 K app or go to Parkrun (you can walk or run) and you’ll be made to feel very welcome.

If I might add a few more!

  1. Find & build friendships online through social media or in real life {neighbours, Parkrun, a social bike ride, an exercise class} who support & encourage you and you can learn from.
  2. If you want to try something new which requires a technical skill or equipment (paddleboarding or mountain biking) then do invest in yourself! This can be hard for us to do sometimes. My generation & those of us who are mothers often put ourselves at the bottom of the list. However, our health and happiness are worth it – so make that investment!
  3. If you’re starting in the winter and don’t have the right kit for the cold & rain, do invest in some. It doesn’t have to be super technical but just enough to keep you warm & dry. This will make all the difference to how much you enjoy it and carry on!
  4. Have fun and if, after a while, it’s not fun, try something else! This isn’t school! You don’t have to stick with something you’re not enjoying. Keep looking and you’ll find something you love & then you’ll be off & flying!

Thanks Jo, that’s all fantastic advice. We’re going to get our running shoes on. See you on Saturday!

Jo will be joining Tom Hill, Julia Hobson, Graham Kelly and Katie Hall on stage at the Brewery Arts Centre at 9:30 am on Saturday 17th November. Get your tickets for our session and more over at the Kendal Mountain Festival website. See you there!