As the sun shines down on us and flowers begin to bloom, the outdoors begin to beckon us to spend more time in nature. With more time outdoors comes the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities like gardening, pickleball, hiking, biking and more! As with any physical activity, being active outdoors requires that our heart is able to support physical endurance.

The Benefits of Outdoor Activity on Heart Health

Outdoor activities have a host of benefits, including many that are great for your heart. Outdoor activities often involve some form of cardio, from walking to tai chi, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. As the weather warms up, there are also additional opportunities for swimming, which is a great activity for oxygen usage and blood pressure, all while being gentle on the joints. Harvard Health Publishing notes that this makes swimming an excellent activity for those with arthritis and other chronic conditions.

Considerations For Outdoor Physical Activity

The warmer temperatures and uneven terrain the outdoors bring are important to take into consideration when exercising outdoors. As we age, our body composition changes, and we are at a greater risk of dehydration. Being dehydrated can lead to heat exhaustion, and together, these can cause tiredness and lack of coordination that leads to falls and injury. To manage these risks, be sure to opt for exercising at cooler times of the day and wear lighter clothes while exercising.

Eating a Heart Healthy Diet

Eating a heart healthy diet can help prevent conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all contributing factors to heart disease. In addition to ensuring that you eat a proper portion size, focus on the foods below to support your heart health so you can make the most of your time outdoors this summer.

Foods to Focus On

According to the Mayo Clinic, foods that can help support your heart health include:

The summer is the perfect opportunity to start focusing on heart-healthy foods – especially if you live in Alberta, like all of us at Trico LivingWell! July to October is Alberta’s Harvest season, so an abundance of fruits and vegetables become more readily available during this time. Incorporating these colourful foods into a dish can be the perfect way to add new and exciting flavours with a touch of artistry to your meals.

Heart Health & Nutrition at Trico LivingWell

Trico LivingWell supports healthy eating patterns by increasing access to fruits and vegetables with menu items and counter displays, limiting the availability of highly processed foods, and designing environments where the easiest choice is the healthiest choice. At Trico LivingWell, healthy eating is anything but mundane and uninspired – it’s a truly elevated dining experience, where high value nutritional food is provided and showcased with artistry. Led by Executive Chef Liana Robberecht, our culinary team partners with small, local farms to source high quality ingredients and support our community. If you’d like to see an example of the delicious and nutritious food our culinary team creates to support our residents health, click here.

Interested in learning more about retirement living at Trico LivingWell? Book a tour with us here.

No material on our website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the medical advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider when undertaking a new health regimen.

In March, Trico LivingWell had the pleasure of sponsoring and attending ‘Voyage Into Vasculature’, an educational session held by Alzheimer Calgary. This session, led by experts in the field from the University of Calgary, explored the relationship between dementia and vascular health, as well as provided some tips to build resilience and protect both our vascular health and cognition.

What is Vascular Disease?

Vascular disease is a condition that affects your vascular system. Your vascular system is the network of arteries and veins that carry blood all over your body. This system has the important role of sending oxygen and nutrients to body tissues.

Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Your heart and brain are connected by the vascular system. If the vessels leading to the brain are blocked, this results in a lack of oxygen than can damage brain cells. Our brain uses oxygen to perform tasks, and so a lack of oxygen impacts our cognition. As more damage occurs, symptoms like forgetfulness become more severe and lead to problems we associate with dementia, like decisioning making, reasoning, and processing information.

According to a study published in Lancet Neurology,  the incidence of dementia is nearly 50 times higher in the year after a major stroke compared to people of the same age who have not had a stroke.

Protecting Your Vascular Health and Cognition

The Heart and Stroke Foundation notes that vascular and mind conditions share many of the same risk factors and strategies for prevention. While there are risk factors out of our control that can impact our vascular health, there are many risk factors that we can mitigate through achievable lifestyle changes. Here are some of the lifestyle risk factors associated with vascular cognitive impairment, and how to combat them, according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation:


Eating a healthy balanced diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating more vegetables and fruit, foods higher in fibre, cutting out salt, choosing healthy fats, cutting added sugar, and eating moderate portions are all adjustments that can be made for a healthier diet. Having a healthy diet can also help you manage your weight, which is key for managing blood pressure and cholesterol.

Quit Smoking

The benefits of quitting smoking can be seen through the statistics. According to the Heart and Stoke Foundation:

Get Active

For many of us, sitting is a necessary part of our daily routine – whether it’s driving in a car or sitting at a desk for work, inactivity comes easily in the modern world. However, making time for physical activity is an excellent way to dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. Even something like a brisk 30-minute walk can greatly benefit your health.

Prioritize Wellness

It is clear that by prioritizing our health, we are able to take care of multiple systems in our body that prevent complications in the future. At Trico LivingWell, we take care of our resident’s health through a strong wellness culture that helps to maintain independence.

You can learn more by booking a meeting with us here.

No material on our website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the medical advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider when undertaking a new health regimen.