Purpose. This study was conducted to determine the effect of a resistive training intervention on body image in middle-aged women compared to an exercise walking program. Another purpose was to develop two multivariate models to explain improvement in body image among the lifters and walkers. Design. A pretest-posttest experimental design with random assignment of subjects to two exercise groups was employed. Setting. Subjects trained in their own homes and were tested at the university. Subjects. Participants were 60 women recruited from the local community with an average age of 42.5 +/- 4.2 years. Intervention. Subjects were randomly assigned to a resistive training or exercise walking program, both of which were three days per week and 12 weeks in duration. Measures. Body cathexis was assessed using the Body Cathexis Scale; cardiovascular endurance was measured using the one-mile walk test, and muscular strength was assessed using standard weight training procedures. Results. After completion of the exercise interventions, lifters showed greater muscular strength than walkers, and walkers displayed greater cardiorespiratory endurance than lifters, as expected. Lifters also improved significantly more in body image than the walkers. Conclusions. Participation in a three-day-per-week resistive training program seems to improve body image in middle-aged women more than participation in a three-day per week walking program. Further, it appears that hard work and fitness improvements contribute significantly toward positive changes in body image.