Although the association between habitual exercise and health benefits has been well documented, physical activity levels in the United States are lower than is necessary to reach the nation's health potential. Beliefs that people hold can be a motivating factor in engaging in exercise. A critical review of the literature was conducted to assess the efficacy of using the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior with respect to exercise. Evidence for the predictive utility of the theories was found. The Theory of Planned Behavior is a more promising framework for the study of exercise because it includes beliefs about control of factors that would facilitate or inhibit carrying out exercise. Strategies for use of the theories in planning exercise programs are provided and suggestions for future research discussed. ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.