The Blue Gym Study: Benefits of Being Close to Nature

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As The Waterfront strives to design workspaces that prioritize employee overall well-being, the Blue Gym Study reminds us of the invaluable benefits of integrating nature into our daily lives. For employees in waterfront office buildings, like 615 Waterfront, the advantages extend beyond the aesthetics of being on the water—they encompass enhanced well-being, increased productivity, and a profound connection to the world around us. It’s easy to become disconnected from nature amidst the urban landscapes and sprawl of Lehigh Valley, but research suggests that being close to nature isn’t just a luxury. It’s a necessity for our physical and mental health. By harnessing the power of nature, we can create environments where both individuals, communities, and organizations thrive.

Understanding the Blue Gym Study

Conducted by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, the Blue Gym Study researched the effects of “blue space” on mental and physical health and well-being. Blue space is an environment containing visible water, such as spaces around The Waterfront, where views of the Lehigh River are easily seen and accessible.

The Healing Power of Water

The findings of the Blue Gym Study showed that individuals who lived near blue spaces reported higher levels of physical activity and experienced lower levels of psychological distress compared to those living in areas without natural elements. Proximity to water was associated with improved mental health outcomes, such as reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. At The Waterfront, there are plenty of ways to increase physical activity even during the workday. With access to a half-mile River Walk and other walking trails, such as the D&L National Corridor Trail and 9/11 Memorial Trail, it is convenient to go on a walk or run right along the Lehigh River.

615 Waterfront at Night

The Waterfront Offices: A Sanctuary of Productivity

What about working in waterfront environments? Cue The Waterfront offices, where workspaces are merged with the landscape of the river and greenery right outside of the windows. Employees who work in these types of settings often find themselves more relaxed with a reduction of stress due to being in a “restorative environment.” In addition to positive mental health outcomes, exposure to nature, including water bodies and sunlight, has been linked to improved cognitive function, such as improved attention and memory. This finding suggests that spending time in natural environments could boost cognitive performance, which would contribute to not only better productivity, but also decision-making. Productivity and decision-making is not confined to your desk chair. Grab a pair of walking shoes and have a walking meeting while enjoying the tranquil nature around you.

Boosting Creativity and Focus

The calming presence of the flowing Lehigh River, combined with lush greenery and panoramic views, creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity and focus. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to nature can promote innovative thinking. For employees dealing with deadlines and demanding tasks, a glimpse of the Lehigh River outside their window or a quick walk outside can provide the mental refreshment needed to tackle challenges head-first with a fresh mindset.

The Waterfront Exterior at Night

Promoting Well-Being and Engagement

Moreover, offices at The Waterfront promote employee well-being and engagement by fostering a sense of connection to the nature. Breaks spent strolling along the River Walk or enjoying lunch on the amphitheater can revitalize employees both mentally and physically. The Waterfront team hosts tenant events, like Third Thursday Food Trucks, to give employees something to break up or end their workday with. All of these items combined can lead to a positive work environment with higher morale and increased job satisfaction.

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