Speaking (Health)


Idioms & Expressions:

under the weather (expression meaning that someone is sick, or not feeling very well)


right as rain (this expression means the opposite, that you are feeling perfectly healthy)


He was feeling under the weather, but now he’s right as rain.

banged up, in bad shape (ways to describe someone who is injured)

an apple a day keeps the doctor away (an old expression that means that if you eat healthy food, you won’t get sick)


back on your feet (this is a phrase that means you have recovered from an injury)


bag of bones (a way to describe someone who is very thin because they are sick and not eating)


She hasn’t been eating because she’s been sick. She looks like a bag of bones.

death warmed over (this phrase describes someone who looked extremely ill)

He has had the flu and he looks like death warmed over.

clean bill of health (an expression that means a doctor has said you are perfectly healthy)


I was in bad shape after my bike crash, but now I’m back on my feet! The doctor gave me a clean bill of health.

the picture of health (this phrase describes someone who looks perfectly healthy)

She has a good diet and exercises regularly – she’s the picture of health.

on the mend (this phrase describes someone who is in the process of recovering from an illness or injury)


I’m finally on the mend after being sick for three weeks.


going under the knife (an expression that means you are having surgery)

I’m very nervous, because today I’m going under the knife to get my knee surgery.

your number is up (this phrase means it’s your turn to die – we also say “when your number’s up, it’s up)


He got the surgery, but unfortunately, his number was up and he didn’t survive it.

Group Discussion (Part 1)

  1. Do you exercise regularly? Why/why not? If you exercise, how has it affected your life?

Yes, I exercise five to six times a week. I exercise because I like being fit and healthy (and also, because my parents are both very fat, and I don’t want to be like them!) Exercising often gives me both physical and mental benefits. I feel stronger, and also more confident and at peace with myself. The only problem is that exercise consumes a lot of time, which makes scheduling very difficult.

  1. How often do you watch or play sports?

I don’t really play sports very often, but I like to watch basketball and American football on TV when I have time. I probably watch sports only once a week – maybe more often if there is a championship game (like the Super Bowl). I would watch more, but I don’t really have time!

  1. Do you think people in your country exercise enough?

I am from America, and America has a very large population. Many people get daily exercise, but most Americans do not. As a result, many Americans are overweight. This problem is compounded because the American diet is full of fat and sugar, which causes people to gain weight very easily. I think most people in America need to exercise more. However, it is hard to find the time and motivation for frequent exercise.

Group Discussion (Part II)

Describe an activity you do which keeps you fit or healthy. You should say:

What is this activity?

How is it done, exactly?

How long you have done this activity?

How it has it influenced your health?

I like to go to the gym and lift weights. After I’m done with that, I practice boxing and then go running. Weight lifting is very technical and involves lots of research to make sure you are performing the exercises properly. It is hard to explain the complexities of it! Boxing is very easy – you just practice punching at something, like your own shadow. Running is also very easy to figure out, but it’s hard to run at a very fast speed or for very long distances. I have been lifting weights for two years, and running for fourteen years. I think it’s important to exercise often, and I hope to be able to exercise for the rest of my life. I am undoubtedly in much better shape now than I would be without exercise. I know that my heart and lungs and healthy, and that I am stronger than most people my age. I can also think more clearly after I exercise. However, I like exercising so much that I often go many days without a break, and doctors say that you need to rest your body sometimes. So, I need to rest a little more so that exercising does not make me too fatigued.

Additional Questions:

Describe the health system in your country.

America has a very complex healthcare system. Basically, you have to purchase health insurance before you can receive healthcare. But there are many, many options for insurance plans that you can purchase, and it takes a lot of time to select the right one. However, if you don’t purchase insurance, then your healthcare bills will be extremely expensive. The more expensive your insurance plan is, the better your healthcare is.

What’s the procedure for seeing a doctor in your country?

It is fairly simple – you just need to call the doctor’s office and schedule an appointment. If you have a serious problem, then it’s best to go straight to the hospital and visit the Emergency Room. Once you are there, the doctors can begin to treat you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of your country’s healthcare program?

Our country’s healthcare system is very expensive, and so even with insurance, many people cannot get the care they need. For example, if you are poor and need a heart transplant, you will probably not be able to afford the operation. However, if you are middle-class or above, you can easily afford much of the care and medication you will need throughout your life.

Class Debate: Your Country’s Healthcare System

Do you think a country’s health system should be free? (Why/Why not?)

I definitely think so. I think that most countries, in practice, have enough money to provide healthcare for all of its citizens, but I think that the rich people do not pay their fair share of taxes, which makes it impossible to extend care to everyone. I believe that a modern society should maintain a basic level of comfort and security to all its people, and that it is wrong to ignore people in need.