Elisa and Jasmin are sisters living in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Elisa, the younger sister, is concerned about her weight, especially after being teased by girls in her eleventh standard class. She becomes very self-conscious and turns to her older sister Jasmin for help and support. Jasmin, who is home from college, follows a regular exercise routine, and as a result, is physically fit. In this conversation, Jasmin educates Elisa on the importance of exercise.
Jasmin: So how was school today Elisa?
Elisa: Just as slow and boring as ever. I hate school!
Jasmin: I've never heard you talk like this. What's wrong? You can't possibly hate school; you earn high marks every semester and this has always made you happy. Tell me the truth Elisa.
Elisa: I know that I'm a star student but I'm fat and only getting fatter. The girls at school constantly have a negative commentary about my weight and tell jokes about me during lunch.
Jasmin: How long has this been going on? What do they say?
Elisa: In the mess hall they warn each other to cover their plate when I pass by because I will eat their food. Yesterday at lunch one girl pointed at me and compared my eating habits to an elephant's. She told her friend that I could split the check with an elephant at a restaurant.
Jasmin: Oh no! That is totally unacceptable! I'll talk to Mom to see what can be done about this ragging.
Elisa: Yes but it's true! I am becoming an elephant. Look at how plump I am. I weighed myself the other day and was shocked. Tell me the truth Jasmin. I am a fatty right?
Jasmin: Don't say that Elisa. Self-degradation will only exacerbate the situation. To be honest, you have gained substantial weight over the last two years. If you are unhappy with your situation don't cry about it, change it. You spend entirely too much time in front of the television and never get any exercise. This is your main problem.
Elisa: But after finishing my school day and completing my studies I am so tired and just want to relax my mind and body. I've followed a strict diet for the last year but it isn't working.
Jasmin: If you want to lose weight dieting is only half of it. You must exercise.
Elisa: But why is exercise so important if I only eat healthy food and limit my food intake?
Jasmin: Exercise is vital to every part of our lives. It is the key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that!
Elisa: Ok I see. You manage to stay in shape all the time and your muscles look bigger than before. You are actually stronger too. I see this when you lift things and work in the garden.
Jasmin: At the gym I lift weights. Exercising with weights strengthens and tones your muscles, and develops your bones and ligaments for increased strength and stamina.
Elisa: If you come to school with me, those mean girls will be scared and leave me alone.
Jasmin: You are too funny Elisa! I won't be your bodyguard because that is not necessary. But I will teach you about the benefits of exercising and how to stay in shape.
Elisa: When you are at the gym or playing basketball or tennis you are able to exercise for so long without getting exhausted. How do you keep your energy up for such a long period of time? I am tired after fifteen minutes of badminton!
Jasmin: Aerobic exercise like playing basketball or tennis involves continuous rhythmicphysical motion. This improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. You can economize your energy.
Elisa: So the more I exercise the more energy I have to exercise longer and harder?
Jasmin: That's right!
Elisa: Why do people stretch before working out?
Jasmin: Stretching enhances flexibility and improves posture. Stretching exercises keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach, and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination.
Self-conscious - Uncomfortably nervous about or embarrassed by what others think about you.
Commentary - Spoken or written discussion in which people express opinions about someone or something.
Degradation - The act of treating someone or something poorly and without respect.
Exacerbate - To make (a bad situation, a problem, etc.) worse.
Substantial - Large in amount, size, or number.
Intake - The process of taking food into the body through the mouth.
Stamina - Great physical or mental strength that allows you to continue doing something for a long time.
Economise - To use money, resources, etc., carefully.
Rhythmic - Having a regular repeated pattern of sounds or movements.
Coordination - The ability to move different parts of your body together well or easily.
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