Get Outdoors in the Greater Boston Area

Boston may be a metropolitan hub, but if you love to spend time in the great outdoors, there are plenty of local trails and green spaces where you can find your fix. Whether you prefer to pedal, row, or enjoy a leisurely stroll, you’ll reap the benefits of sunshine, fresh air, and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Here are a few of our favorite local places and ways to get outdoors and maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Row Down the Charles River

In the 60s, The Standells sang that they “loved that dirty water” of the Charles River. Nowadays, the river’s been cleaned up and the water has been known to sparkle on sunny days. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the winding waters and rent a kayak to paddle down the length of the river. Paddle Boston offers kayak rentals, guided sunset tours of the Charles, paddling classes, and more. If you’re feeling daring, why not sign up for one of their Wednesday night races?

Kayaking is a fun way to build upper body and core strength. Maneuvering the paddle over and over makes for a strong back, chest, shoulders, and arms. This is not to mention better coordination and flexibility. It’s a low-impact exercise, so that means less stress on your joints. You’ll also be able to take in the iconic features of the Boston and Cambridge skylines, from the dome of MIT to the gold leaf that tops the State House.

Avid kayakers report that it’s also a good way to reduce stress as you watch the blue-green waters undulate around you under a wide blue sky. And if you join a kayaking club, it’s a way to make new friends as you paddle the waters together.

Get Outdoors and Hike in the Blue Hills

The Blue Hills Reservation is in Milton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. It offers trails for experienced and inexperienced hikers alike, so no matter who you are or what fitness level you’re at, you’ll find a trail here that suits you. No matter what trail you set on, you’re sure to find one that offers rewarding sights of the reservation’s marshlands, meadows, and rolling hills. You might find a stunning view of the city in the distance, or enjoy New England’s famous foliage on a wooded path.

Hiking can be as challenging or as easy as you want it to be, depending on the trail you choose and the pace you set. If you can walk, you can hike. Be sure to bring snacks, water, and wear comfortable sneakers or boots with good traction. Put one foot in front of the other and take the time to enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of nature around you.

Hiking offers a slew of physical and mental benefits. It’s a weight-bearing exercise, so it builds strong bones and strong legs. It builds cardiovascular fitness, so it’ll lower your risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Beyond that, the relative solitude of hiking offers a meditative experience. It gives your mind a break from the stressors of everyday life. Research shows that regular hiking can alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Reconnecting with nature works your body and rests your brain. This is a great reason to get outdoors.

Ride Down the Minuteman Bikeway

If wheels are more your style, it’s time to take yourself on a spin down the Minuteman Bikeway in North Cambridge. This rail trail starts just past Alewife Station on the Red Line. It travels 10 miles on an out-and-back path through Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. It’s paved all the way and popular with runners, walkers, roller skaters, and cyclists alike. Along the way, you’ll pass Spy Pond, Arlington’s Great Meadows, and the Battle Green where the Battle of Lexington and Concord sparked the American Revolution. Keep an eye out and you might reward yourself with sightings of a hawk or songbird in the wooded sections.

What can cycling do for you? For starters, it’ll build stronger legs and lungs and improve your flexibility. Research suggests cycling can alleviate symptoms of knee pain and osteoarthritis, and balancing on two wheels means better coordination as well. When you take your bike out regularly, you’ll enjoy all the mental benefits of cycling as exercise, including higher-quality sleep, reduced stress, and a healthier brain.

These aren’t the only ways to enjoy the great outdoors around Boston. However, they’re a start. All three will lead you on the path towards becoming your best self, physically and mentally. Get outdoors and make the most of what the Boston area has to offer.

7 Proven Corporate Event Planning Tips

Are you in the middle of corporate event planning but aren’t sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve gathered some helpful advice. Here are seven proven tips you can use to make your corporate event a success.

#1. Understand the Objectives of Your Event

Before you start planning the details you should consider what the overall objectives are for the corporate event. Why are you having the event in the first place? Are you trying to raise money for a good cause, introduce a new product or disclosing new financial information to employees? When you understand the purpose of the event you can develop an agenda that can help you achieve that outcome.

#2. Figure Out the Logistics

Next, figure out the location and logistics for the event. Are you going to have the event onsite or at another location? If you’re having it offsite, how will everyone get to the venue? Is there nearby parking for employees who decide to drive or public transportation available that stops close to the venue? Depending on your budget and the event’s location, you can also consider chartering a bus or car to transport guests.

#3. Create a Central Theme For the Event

Many successful corporate events have a central unifying theme. You can communicate the event’s theme and make a statement using lights, audiovisuals and plants. Besides improving the ambiance, live plants can help reduce stress and make beautiful displays as live art. Just remember to communicate the theme of your event to the vendor beforehand if you are having the event in another location so they can make accommodations.

#4. Choose Items for the Menu

For corporate events that are longer than a couple of hours, you may want to consider providing food for your employees if it’s in the budget. Luckily there are many options for planning a meal when you’re throwing a corporate event. You can have a local restaurant cater the event or have various food trucks stationed outside the premises. When choosing items for the menu, remember to have different options for people with dietary restrictions like vegans and vegetarians. You can also survey the employees ahead of time if possible to find out their specific food preferences to help ensure that everyone has a great dining experience.

#5. Plan a Variety of Activities 

Many people associate corporate events with boring lectures, but that’s not always the case! One way you can keep everything fresh is to plan a mixture of different types of activities to break up the monotony and allow everyone to stretch their legs. For example, your event can have educational workshops and outdoor events. Although it may require some thoughtful planning and additional organizational skills, a variety of activities can make your event stand out.

#6. Hire Professional Event Planners

Corporate event planning can be overwhelming at times, especially if this is your first time planning a big event. After you’ve started planning the details of your event, you should think about whether you have enough people on your team to execute it. If you don’t think you have enough people to successfully pull it off, you may want to consider hiring professional event planners so you can be confident everything will go smoothly. An event coordinator and other professional staff can help make sure everything runs on schedule and take care of the small details.

#7. Ask for Feedback 

Lastly, we recommend asking employees to provide anonymous feedback so you can learn more about how you can improve the next event. Honest feedback can also give you ideas on different themes you can use in future corporate events.

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Upcoming event at BSA space at 290 Congress Street in Boston Thursday July 28th @ 6:00 pm- Landscape Architect Kate Kenen shares her expertise on phytoremediation and the possibilities the practice presents.  The talk will detail properly planning sites to utilize plants which remedy polluted grounds.  Sign up Here.

To Learn more about the BSA Urban Design Committee, Click Here.