Staying safe when doing online exercises

Click here to download a PDF of this checklist.

Before you start:

  • Do you have the necessary technology? A laptop or tablet (eg iPad) is ideal. The screen of a phone may be too small.

  • Do you have a reliable internet connection? If not, print the exercise sheets.

  • Can you see your screen easily while you exercise? Set your computer or tablet up somewhere stable where you can easily see the screen. Rest it on a few large books on the kitchen bench to make the screen the right height.

  • If applicable, can you hear the instructions? Try turning up the volume on your device.

  • Get your equipment ready (eg weights, sturdy support, water bottle, etc).

Man doing exercises in kitchen.jpg
  • If you are doing a live online class, make sure you have the correct app downloaded (eg Zoom, Skype). Contact your instructor if you're unsure.

  • Have a clear space to exercise. Remove obstacles (eg rugs, cords) so you don't trip.

  • Remove potential distractions and risks such as pets.

  • Exercise in a well-lit area that is not too hot or cold.

  • Wear comfortable clothing you can move in and well-fitting shoes or runners.

While exercising and watching your screen:

  • Only have one exercise on your screen at a time.

  • Exercise at your own pace. Don't try to keep up with the exercise demonstrator.

  • Balance exercises must be done safely. If needed, use a bench, table or sturdy chair next to you or in front, and a wall close behind to steady you.

  • Listen to your body! If an exercise causes you pain, discomfort, or you feel unsteady or unsafe, either modify the exercise (eg do an easier version, hold on for balance support) or leave it out. Seek advice, if you need, from an exercise specialist (physiotherapist/exercise physiologist). 

  • Have someone else nearby when you exercise if possible, especially for the first time (respecting any social distancing recommendations). Alternatively keep your phone in reach if you live alone.

  • Start any new exercise slowly and carefully. If there is a video, watch the video before you try the exercise. If the exercise has an 'easy' and a 'hard' option, try the easy option first.

  • If you are doing a live online class (eg one run by a health professional or exercise instructor) make sure you can see the instructor and they can see you. It may be distracting if you can also see other people exercising.

Seek advice from your doctor or health professional prior to starting exercise if you have had two or more falls in the past 12 months, a recent heart problem, shortness of breath, chronic pain, or other serious medical condition.

Stop exercising immediately if you become dizzy, develop chest pain or feel unwell. You should discuss this with your doctor.

We provide examples of ways to stay active during COVID-19 at three levels of function and fitness. 


If you are not sure which level best suits you, start at the easiest level (Level 1) and work your way up. We also provide additional information on how hard should you work and tips for staying motivated. Remember if you need assistance, a physiotherapist can help.




This video is from the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health's Staying active during and after lockdown webinar. Physiotherapist, Giane Caon Camara, talks with June Jones and Steve Turner about getting active on and offline.