Health & Well-being

“There's a lot of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven't the time to enjoy it.”

Josh Billings (1818 – 1885), American humourist
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on health and well-being has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Living a healthy lifestyle not only improves you physical health, it can also make you feel happier as well. That said, many people find it extremely difficult to keep their fitness up which can lead to serious health problems. In this ESL lesson plan on health and well-being, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how to lead a healthy life, the biggest health problems in society and whether or not we will be healthier in the future.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the World Health Day, which takes place in April, or for World Heart Day, which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Good Housekeeping | “12 Life Lessons Queen Elizabeth Follows for Good Health”

The article lists a number of factors that have led to Queen Elizabeth II living a long and healthy life including keeping the mind active, leaving time for leisure and being kind to people. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. Do they agree with what was written in the article? Can they add anything to the list? Does it help being a millionaire?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “Exercise Addiction” by SBS News which looks at the life of a fitness addict.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including whether the students think they have a healthy lifestyle, the things people do that can damage their health and whether enough is done to care for those with mental health problems.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with health and well-being such as gym bunny, fit as a fiddle and under the weather. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about healthy lifestyles. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how the modern world affects our health, whether we can trust the health information we receive and whether or not people are too obsessed with their health these days.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about how to lead a healthy lifestyle. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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