This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Drastic changes to your eating or exercise routine don't always create lasting results. It's small changes made over time that can help you reach your goals. Each week, this column will help you take baby steps to good health by suggesting that you "do one thing."


Play basketball


Competitive athletes are better at juggling different mental tasks and have quicker reaction times than those who don't play sports, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and published in Shape magazine. Basketball, soccer and other organized games offer great cognitive training, said lead researcher Laura Chaddock. Running and passing while avoiding opponents and keeping track of teammates are skills that help you multitask and be at the top of your game on or off the court, she said.


• Schedule a regular pick-up game with friends at lunch, after work or on the weekend.

• Take your kids (and/or your spouse) to the park or local recreation center for a few games.

• Join an adult basketball league. Usually offered through city or county parks and recreation departments.

Shape Magazine