7 Ways Spending Time in Nature Can Boost Our Wellness

Sunshine, fresh air, green grass, flowers, trees – isn’t nature a wonderful thing? As we get full-swing into the summer season, nature is at her finest, which means all sorts of fun outdoor activities and opportunities to soak up the sun.

Sunshine, fresh air, green grass, flowers, trees – isn’t nature a wonderful thing? As we get full-swing into the summer season, nature is at her finest, which means all sorts of fun outdoor activities and opportunities to soak up the sun. It’s the quintessential summer enjoyment, but not only that, it can actually boost a lot more than just your disposition.

“Studies have shown that being outside and, more specifically, in a natural setting has incredible healing powers,” says Kevin Defayette, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “Mother Nature helps boost the immune system, improves mental health, and can even help reduce some forms of cancer. Whether you’re at a park, in the garden, by the ocean or wherever else, being in nature is something that should definitely be part of your health and wellness routine.”

Kevin says that since COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted and outdoor events are beginning to pick up, it’s even easier to get back into nature and enjoy all its benefits. This is especially great for older adults who are itching to get outside after a long winter filled with cabin fever.

“This summer can be a great re-start of your health and wellness plan,” Kevin says. “Going outside is one of the easiest ways to get a health boost because it doesn’t require any sort of special equipment, fitness level or even location. Though, Waterstone at the Circle has an exceptional one – situated next to Cassidy Park and close to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Simply walk out your front door to enjoy the community around you, and in Boston’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, there are plenty of things to delight, entertain and fulfill you.”

The Health Benefits of Being in Nature

1. Increased physical activity.
Obviously, one of the biggest benefits of getting outside is the exercise you get. From simply walking around the park to cycling along the river, being in nature usually means some form of physical activity.

2. Reduced stress.
Spending time in nature, whether you’re walking or simply looking at the beauty around you, instantly lowers blood pressure and reduces the amounts of adrenaline and cortisol in your body. This results in lowered stress, which leads to better moods, a better cardiovascular system and better overall well-being.

3. Improved immune system.
A number of studies have found that fresh air really is good for you – in fact, it has antibacterial properties. Although science doesn’t know exactly why that is, it has shown that the combination of fresh air and sunshine kills bacteria, which is part of the reason why laundry dried outside often seems so fresh. Being outside also boosts your production of white blood cells, which results in a better overall immune system.

4. Better healing.
An improved immune system is only one aspect of quicker healing. Being outside also has a certain je ne sais quoi that helps people with injuries or illness heal more quickly. Studies report that patients who spend time outside report requiring fewer painkillers, experiencing fewer complications and having a quicker recovery time.

5. Higher energy levels.
Vitamin D and fresh air results in a “reset” of sorts for our circadian rhythm, which is the inner clock that tells us when to sleep and when to get up. Everyone knows that being outside helps you feel more alert and energetic – and conversely helps “wear you out” and allows you to sleep better at night. The boost of energy plus the ability to fall into a soothing, deep sleep results in improved energy levels. Having more energy makes it easier to get more exercise, which means better health, better moods … as you can see, being in nature really is a positive feedback loop.

6. Improved relationships.
Being in nature can help nurture and improve our personal relationships because it’s a great place to spend time together. Nature gives us an excellent opportunity to connect with friends and deepen existing relationships while also doing something beneficial for our bodies.

7. Graceful aging.
A study in the Journal of Aging and Health reports that seniors over the age of 70 who spend time outside have fewer sleep issues, fewer aches and pains, and better mobility. In short, being outside makes seniors feel better, which results in better overall health, which then results in happier, healthier and more graceful aging.

Fun Outdoor Activities Near Chestnut Hill

In the spirit of getting out in nature, we’ve put together a list of activities to do in nature near the heart of Cleveland Circle – where Waterstone at the Circle is located. Whether you’re a resident at our community, are visiting a loved one, or simply want to know what there is to do in the area, here are our favorite outdoor activities and destinations for summer 2021.

Cassidy Playground – Conveniently located in Cleveland Circle across from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Cassidy Playground is a nice bit of greenspace with fields for people to enjoy the active life. Recently renovated, the park features a baseball diamond, two tennis courts and two softball fields, along with many benches, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs for relaxing.

Chestnut Hill Reservoir – This picturesque destination was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s son and constructed in the late 1860s to give Boston clean drinking water and a rural park. Today, it features a popular 1.5-mile circular path with pleasant vistas of Back Bay skyscrapers. The paths around the reservoir and through the woods are open for public use.

Hammond Pond Reservation – Located in Newton, Hammond Pond is a protected woodland park that features dozens of hiking trails, rock formations that are popular for rock climbing, and fishing opportunities. For those who love the water, canoeing and kayaking are permitted. The reservation is part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.

The Street – Inspired by the best retail streets in the world, The Street is a unique destination offering generous green space, a tranquil pond, and a variety of local shops and eateries. It’s the ideal place to take in nature while checking out the charm of 16 independently owned boutiques. Plus, don’t forget to bring your furry friend along to explore with you. Dogs are welcome in the green space, common areas, and even many of the shops and restaurants.

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University – Whether you’re looking for a lovely place for a stroll, searching for wildlife, or are interested in learning more about the science behind the plants, Arnold Arboretum is home to 281 landscaped acres with over 16,000 plants! Operating under the Olmstedian principle that everyone is entitled to open space, the arboretum is open every day, free of charge. The Arnold Arboretum offers a variety of exploration opportunities, guided tours, and self-guided activities.

The Brookline Farmers’ Market – Running for over 40 years, The Brookline Farmers’ Market hosts a variety of vendors on Thursdays from June through November in Coolidge Corner at the Centre Street West Parking Lot in Brookline. Proud to support local growers, producers, and artisans, The Brookline Farmers’ Market offers a diverse range of products – most of which are produced in Massachusetts or elsewhere in New England.

Luxury Senior Living in Boston

Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.

Elegant Independent Living Apartments

Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.

Senior Living Supportive Services

As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.

The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.

Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring . . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!