Staying safe while exercising

Click here to download a PDF of this checklist.

Click here for safety tips about wearing a face mask.

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

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

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

  • Drink water before and after you exercise.

  • Balance exercises must be done safely. Use a bench, 
    table, or sturdy chair next to you or in front of you, and/or a wall close behind you to steady yourself if needed.


  • Start any new exercises 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. 

  • 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.

  • Muscle soreness can occur after exercise, especially new exercises. This soreness should go away after a couple of days. If pain persists for more than a few days after exercising, seek health professional advice.

  • Listen to your body! If an exercise is causing 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).

  • After a minor illness (eg cold) you may need to start at a lower level than usual and slowly work back up to where you were. 

  • If you have a new major illness (eg went to hospital) or are below your usual level of ability, seek advice from a health professional to start your exercises safely. 

  • If you have two sets of glasses (for close up and distance), use your distance glasses when walking outdoors. Take extra care when walking outside if you have new glasses.

  • Watch out for trip hazards like tree roots, dogs, and uneven footpaths.

  • Click here for tips on staying safe when doing online exercises.

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.