Weeding for Wellness

Apr 13, 2021
Tending and caring for plants can make you healthier and happier. Body, mind, and even worldwide there are serious benefits to getting your hands in the ground.


By Rebekah Ratcliff

New buds and glimpses of green are popping up everywhere heralding the arrival of spring. After a long and cold winter, the promise of new life and growth is a more than welcome encouragement. Did you also know that spending time caring for plants (which oftentimes means pulling your fair share of weeds) can also provide encouragement and even reward you in more ways than you might expect?

A volunteer helps by pulling weeds at Aspen Hollow Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
A volunteer helps by pulling weeds at Aspen Hollow Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
For a start, tending to plants can be a great workout! While gardening and weeding may seem a leisurely activity, they are also great ways to get up, outside, and moving. Studies show that even just spending time outside can build healthier bones and the calories burned can strengthen your heart. Of course, anyone who has spent a good amount of time pulling weeds can also vouch for the exercise (and sore muscles) it provides. So do get out and pull some weeds, just be sure to stretch first!



Beyond your body, caring for and growing plants can relieve stress as well as symptoms of anxiety or depression. In fact, you don’t even have to successfully grow your plants to reap these benefits! Inhaling healthy bacteria found in soil can increase serotonin and help reduce anxiety. So thrust your hands into the ground, because one thing’s for sure, a little dirt sure don’t hurt.  

Volunteer with the Land Trust to care for and plant native plants. Photo: Land Trust.
Volunteer with the Land Trust to care for and plant native plants. Photo: Land Trust.
Caring for plants also gives us a chance to feel in control. Whether you’re tending to pollinator plants at home, or caring for native plants at Land Trust Preserves (which we need your help to do!), weeding out what isn’t working and being able to help things grow can boost your sense of empowerment and hope. When parts of your life feel out of control, finding and focusing on small successes can make all the difference. And, as an added bonus, you can also make a difference in the health of the soil, our plants, the creatures that rely on them, and the planet at large (hooray for at-home climate solutions)!

Whether you’re looking for a workout, a bit of mental wellness, or trying to change the world, growing and tending plants might just help you get there. 


Ready to get started but aren’t sure how? Check out our guide to Central Oregon Weeds or volunteer with us to care for native plants at our Preserves. 


Learn More:

 

Sources: