IELTS speaking vocabulary about fitness and health

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You may be asked questions about fitness, health, staying well and looking after yourself.

Read the following IELTS exam style question and answers below and pay attention to the words or phrases in bold.

Use the ‘Definitions' section at the bottom of the page to check any meanings you are unfamiliar with.

Make a note of any new vocabulary and the best way to learn it is to use it!

IELTS speaking part 1 style questions

Examiner:  In what ways do you try to stay healthy?

Max: I try to eat a balanced diet as often as I can which means including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and I also try exercise regularly at home or at fitness centers– either running or going for a bike ride as a daily routine, but I admit that with all my studies at the moment, I am not always as conscientious about my health as I should be. I know that physical activity, regular exercise and the health benefits of playing sports can deter bad habits, increase good health, and aid in a speedy recovery of an illness.

Examiner: Do you and your friends each much junk food?

Mario: I'd like to say no, as I am aware of the health benefits of eating healthily and obviously junk foods contain large amounts of salt and sugar to make it flavoursome and appealing to taste. However, as a student, I am often tempted by a quick and convenient take away, and in recent times, it's been really useful to have ready meals delivered without having to leave home even though I know it is a bad habit. Keeping healthy and observing proper dietary habits makes it easier to lose weight and maintain good health but I am a busy student and it's not always easy to choose healthier lifestyle options.

Examiner: What part of your lifestyle would you most like to make healthier?

Rose: That's a hard question! Every year I make a resolution to do more physical exercise, eat healthy foods, adopt healthy eating habits and to go to bed earlier in order to be more effective and productive at work and when I study but this is much easier said than done. Unhealthy habits such as poor diet are something I struggle with even though I know of the health risks such as reduced mental health and heart disease, and I don't want to develop a medical condition which would impair my health. I spoke to a medical practitioner who advised me to stop eating junk food, avoid unhealthy habits, and instead to try eating healthily. He offered great advice to promote healthier lifestyle options.

Weeks ago I took up ballroom dancing as a form of physical fitness with some colleagues from work in an effort to improve my healthy habits, and this has given us the opportunity to keep fit, practice healthy living, learn new skilful dance techniques, and have lots of fun simultaneously! I'd love to be as good as the dancers on Strictly Come Dancing which is a very popular TV show.

IELTS speaking part 2 style question

Describe a change you have made to benefit your own healthy lifestyle

You should say:

  • What it is
  • Why you decided to do it
  • How you have benefitted from it
  • and explain why you would recommend it to others

Diana: I have always been interested in Health, Diet and Nutrition as I am aware that keeping healthy is extremely important to function successfully, sleep well and to prevent illness. I have been tempted by diets over the years, but my determination for achieving healthy eating habits usually fluctuates quite a lot and they can be pretty boring, as well as rigorous. A healthy diet and health conscious attitude can help me maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid bad health habits. However, recently one of my flatmates adopted a vegan diet and, because we share a kitchen, I decided to be as broad-minded as possible and learn from her!

There's been a lot of stuff in the media about how people worry about how unhealthy it is to eat too much meat, especially red meat and how people continue bad habits. I was already fairly healthy and ate a balanced diet without too many bad habits, but when I started to read about veganism and the potential benefits of not eating meat, I was hooked and determined to make some healthy lifestyle changes myself.

In fact, I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about a professional, health conscious sportsman who was even more successful after becoming vegan, and this was revealing and surprising, as I had imagined that he would have needed vast quantities of meat to be strong. (note – grammar third conditional which is quite unusual!)

At first, the cooking was both time consuming and challenging, involving a vast range of new ingredients, techniques and recipe books, but it was fun at the same time, and our kitchen soon became a hub of not just friends but delicious odours!

After a few months, I decided to make this change and, whilst I do occasionally miss not enjoying a large steak, I feel healthier, have lost weight, feel energised and am much more alert at work. I know too that I have cut down my risk of serious disease such as a stroke or heart attack and this is reassuring.

I would definitely recommend cutting down on red meat and processed food to all my friends who want to stay healthy, even those who are rather sceptical about vegans and argue that this diet is too complicated and limited. We all know that the over production of meat is damaging to the environment and as an added bonus, being partly vegan has definitely saved me money as the price of meat has risen steadily in price over the past few years.

IELTS speaking part 3 style questions

Examiner: Do you think more could be done to encourage health in your country?

Edurne: I think, in my country that the policy makers should have more initiatives and implement stricter policies when it comes to activities that affect people's health. For example, the banning of smoking in public places would not just benefit the smokers, but the non-smokers as well as there is much evidence about the dangers of passive smoking such as developing asthma and a sore throat which is often a symptom bad air pollution. Also, there is a well-established link between better education and health care so education in school is important.

Examiner: How can individuals take more responsibility for their own health?

Andre: For me, this links back to education which should really start at school and then continue throughout one's life. The more we look after ourselves and make the correct decisions surrounding food, health, exercise and so on, the less we might need from our overstretched health services and hospitals. The health benefits of playing sports and games has been well-documented.

For example, campaigns to eat less sugar, cut down on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks, and eat more fruit have been very successful recently and by educating the young, they, in turn, will influence their own families to increase their vegetable and fruit intake.

Examiner: What could be done to halt the rise of obesity globally?

Raff: In my opinion the government has a huge responsibility to try to persuade people to live more healthily and the rise of obesity or overweight children as well as adults is very worrying. People worry about young children in pushchairs being given cans of fizzy drinks and sweets as a reward to good behaviour.

As well as education to promote a healthier lifestyle options in school where children learn about overall health, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and the health benefits of a healthy diet, governments could educate adults through as series of TV programmes, magazine adverts or public service education messages to raise awareness of the risk and dangers of obesity and a poor diet. we could even implement a program where at risk men and women pay less for a community based fitness class. A positive reinforcement message would be more effective than more negative messaging. For example, free gym membership, recipe cards and access to more playing fields, parks and green spaces would contribute to making exercise accessible and promote healthier lifestyle options.

Vocabulary list and definitions

  • balanced diet: eating a sensible mix of different foods
  • conscientious about my health: watching and caring about your heath
  • flavoursome and appealing: good to eat and looking attractive
  • convenient take away: food which you can eat at home
  • healthier eating habits: eating less sugar or salt
  • productive at work: achieving more, better results
  • processed meat: meat in which there are additives or chemicals
  • function successfully: to work, perform in a great way
  • tempted by diets: interested in other ways of eating
  • adopted a vegan diet: a vegan does not eat meat, or dairy foods
  • broad minded: open to other ideas
  • Sceptical: not believing something
  • over production of meat: factories or agricultural methods which are focused on this
  • Public service education message: advice from the government
  • Positive reinforcement: rewarding people for doing the right thing

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