When you're battling hypertension, it's not about just one factor, whether that's reducing the salt or getting on the treadmill. Instead, controlling hypertension and improving your health involves creating a more balanced, healthier lifestyle overall. Check out this list of the top tips and tricks to make lifestyle changes that can help you work toward a healthier heart and life:

  • Ask your doctor how your blood cholesterol is doing, and whether that needs some work, too.

  • Choose physical activities that you enjoy and don't try to do too much too soon.

  • Drink more water and limit sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Eat less dessert and fewer sweetened baked goods, and when you do indulge, eat smaller portions.

  • Even if you only have 10 minutes to work out, use those 10 minutes. Every few minutes counts.

  • Get physically active and fit. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity every day.

  • Gradually increase the length and intensity of your workout routine.

  • Have your doctor check your blood pressure regularly, and let her know if you're following the DASH diet.

  • Lose weight if you're overweight. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian for more on what a healthy body weight for you should be.

  • Make an exercise plan and stick to it, enlisting the companionship of a friend, exercise partner, or personal trainer, if you like.

  • Quit smoking — and if you're not a smoker, don't start!

  • Replace salt in recipes with flavorful herbs and spices, or use half the salt.

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table.

  • Skip the salty snacks and extra sweets.

  • Start saving sodas and sugary coffee drinks for occasional treats.

  • If your doctor prescribes medications for you, take them exactly as directed.

  • Try working out in the morning, because studies show that people who exercise then are the most successful. Think about it: In the morning, fewer obstacles can get in the way of your busy life.