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Staying safe while exercising

Below are some tips on staying safe while exercising. You can also listen to this interview with Prof Anne Tiedemann from the University of Sydney who provides safety tips to help you prevent falls.

Preventing falls_ABC Radio Canberra Jan 2024
00:00 / 09:16
  • Have a clear space to exercise. Remove obstacles (eg rugs, cords, furniture) so you don’t trip.

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

  • Wear comfortable clothing and well-fitting shoes or runners.

  • Drink water before and after exercise.

  • Balance exercises must be done safely. Stand with a bench, table, or sturdy chair in front of you or next to you, that you can hold onto if needed. Have a wall close behind you to steady yourself.

  • Start any new exercise, slowly and carefully. If there is a video, watch the video before you try the exercise. Try the ‘easy’ option before the ‘hard’ option.

  • Consider whether you should exercise with someone.

  • Keep your phone in reach if you are exercising alone.

  • Muscle soreness can occur, especially after new or harder exercises. Soreness should go away after a couple of days. Contact a health professional if pain persists more than a few days.

  • Listen to your body!

  • Change the exercise if it causes pain, discomfort or you feel unsteady or unsafe. You can do an easier version, hold on for balance or leave it out. Seek advice from an exercise specialist (physiotherapist/exercise physiologist).

  • After a minor illness (eg cold) start at an easier level and slowly work up to your previous level.

  • Click here for safety tips about wearing a face mask.

Remember to follow current COVID-19 restrictions while 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.

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.

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