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Feb. 29, 1996

By Rosie Flores

Lift a book to read

or plant garden plot

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Finding ways to relax is something most working individuals strive for.
After a long day at the office or out in the sun, doing the daily
routine of earning a living, going home to relax is something everyone
thinks about.

Of course, those involved in clubs, organizations and other group
meetings may find those activities relaxing after a long hard day.

Studies show that pets, gardening and music are great for relaxing and
relieving stress. Pets can show the kind of attention and affection an
individual needs but may not get from others. (Apparently pets aren't as
moody as us humans and are a lot more tolerant!)

Owning a pet can also help with physical aspects of an individual's
life. Dog owners, for instance, take about twice as many walks as people
without dogs. Pet owners have a better survival rate a year after a
heart attack or a diagnosis of chest pain (angina), and positive
interaction with pets can lower blood pressure.

Gardening or puttering around in the yard can also help alleviate some
of the tension which builds up during the day. Gardening is not only a
good form of exercise; it also is mentally therapeutic and provides a
form of relaxation.

Music can also lift a person's spirits. Therapists have used music to
treat illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Music has
helped people with Alzheimer's disease communicate and recall memories.
Listening to music while walking helps some people with Parkinson's
disease move smoothly.

These activities may help only if a person already enjoys them. It is
recommneded that individuals start small to test their interests.

Watch a friend's dog for a weekend, plant a small container garden or
attend a community concert. See if a hobby turns healthy.

Whatever the hobby or exercise program you choose to do, make sure it's
right for you.

For instance, reading can be a great form of relaxing. Unfortunately,
it doesn't do much for the exercise part of your life. Still, lifting
that book can create arm muscles!

Spending time with your children can be a good form of exercise. A
colleague who had a baby recently was telling me how much her arms hurt
from carrying that chubby bundle around. She's finding arm muscles she
didn't even know existed!

I told her just wait until the "little bundle" starts walking and
running around. Then you'll really find muscles you never thought you

Rosie Flores is an Enterprise writer and editor of Lifestyles
and Golden Years. Her column appears each Thursday.


Take long view of NAFTA success

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The North American Free Trade Agreement - as shown by the
campaign-trail success of Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan
- has become a major issue in this political season. But it has become
one for all the wrong reasons.

Buchanan uses his ``America first'' campaign theme to say that free
trade in general - and NAFTA in particular - are bad for the United
States. On what does he base his assumption? On a couple of rocky years
in Mexico.

NAFTA, which is designed to integrate trade among the United States,
Mexico and Canada, still holds enormous hope as it enters its third year
of existence.

NAFTA seeks to equalize trade restrictions among the nations.
U.S.-Canadian trade already is virtually free of tariffs. Not so with
the United States and Mexico. The Mexican government already, though,
has reduced tariffs by 5 percent, compared to a 2 percent reduction
enacted by the U.S. government.

Clearly, the Mexican economy has suffered. The devaluation of the peso
last year came as Mexico sought to deal with a virtual economic
collapse. The buying power of Mexicans has suffered over the short term.
The future, however, isn't nearly as bleak, especially if Mexico's
economy continues to rebound from its disastrous 1995. Indeed, Mexico
already is showing signs of economic growth in 1996, a trend that
figures to cut significantly into this country's trade deficit.

The impact on Texas, of course, is enormous. Discussions already are
underway to extend Interstate 27 north of Amarillo and south of Lubbock
in anticipation of increased truck volume. Yes, that increased traffic
has some problems, such as the safety of Mexico's trucks; the state must
ensure that those trucks meet stricter safety requirements than they do
at the moment.

The employment picture figures to brighten, with an increasing number
of jobs being supported by trade with our NAFTA partners.

It is oh, so easy to score cheap political points by singling out some
of the recent difficulties in this still-new trade arrangement. We ought
to take the long view in judging the success or failure of NAFTA.

At the end of its second year, NAFTA still holds major promise for
Texas and the rest of the nation.

- Amarillo Globe-News on NAFTA:
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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