Pre-Screening for Physical Activity


Pre-screening for physical activity using an evidence-based screening tool is an important first step in ensuring a safe and enjoyable physical activity experience. Screening identifies those who many need more evaluation before doing a fitness assessment or becoming more physically active.

The Get Active Questionnaire, developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), is intended to easily screen-in the majority of Canadians to safely participate in physical activity and exercise. The Questionnaire is for all ages to help move individuals along the path to becoming more physically active.

The Get Active Questionnaire along with its accompanying Reference Document enables you to make an informed decision whether you should seek further advice from a health care provider or qualified exercise professional before becoming more physically active. It is designed to be a self-administered pre-screening tool to empower individuals to be responsible for their own health and well-being.

Key principles of the Get Active Questionnaire:
  • intended to screen-in the majority of apparently healthy Canadians

  • reserves doctor referrals for cases where risks clearly outweigh benefits

  • allows the user to make an informed decision about the appropriateness of physical activity / exercise

  • is intended to be self-administered e.g., at home or at the fitness facility and reduce perceived barriers to participation

  • has a companion two-page Reference Document with further information on what to consider next if the individual has one or more positive responses

The Get Active Questionnaire is the current CSEP-endorsed evidence-based pre-screening tool and replaces previous tools. It was released in 2017 after two years of development and testing using the latest research.

The development of the Get Active Questionnaire is part of CSEP’s work to increase awareness and that physical activity is beneficial for everyone!

Using the Get Active Questionnaire

The Get Active Questionnaire is structured to guide an individual through a series of four questions to help them decide whether they should consult a health care professional and/or a qualified exercise professional before becoming more active or starting a fitness program. If an individual answers “YES” to any question, they are guided to the two-page Get Active Questionnaire Reference Document designed to provide advice about each YES response.

  • Recreation or fitness facilities may have their clients complete the questionnaire prior to joining an exercise class or program.
  • Healthcare professionals (i.e., physicians, physiotherapists, dieticians) may provide the questionnaire when encouraging their patients to start exercising.
  • Individuals who wish to become more active can complete the questionnaire on their own initiative.
  • Qualified Exercise Professionals (QEP) may use the questionnaire as one part of the pre-screening process with clients.

Pre-participation screening is an essential step for identifying risk factors and determining who should seek medical clearance, as well as for getting to know clients and their exercise prescription starting point. The Get Active Questionnaire (or other evidence-based screening tool) should be only one step in the overall pre-participation screening process.

A Qualified Exercise Professional (QEP) may ask all new clients to complete the Get Active Questionnaire so they can start getting to know their client’s health status better. If a QEP works at a recreation centre or physician-referred exercise clinic, they may also have individuals referred for further advice due to a “Yes” response on the Get Active Questionnaire completed earlier and are following the corresponding guidance outlined in the Get Active Questionnaire Reference Document.

If a client answers “No” to all questions it may be reasonable to assume that they are able to participate in physical activity and can proceed to page two to complete the rest of the questions.

If a client answers “Yes” to a question, QEPs are encouraged to review the companion Get Active Questionnaire Reference Document with the client to determine the relative risk for physical activity participation or if a referral to a health care practitioner or physician is advised.


CSEP has developed a number of resources to help you understand and use the Get Active Questionnaire.

Download the Get
Active Questionnaire
Download the Get Active Questionnaire Reference Document

Use this reference document if you answered YES to any questions on the Get Active Questionnaire and have not consulted a healthcare provider or a Qualified Exercise Professional (QEP) about becoming more physically active.

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Click this link to access our Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy page.