• group exercise;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • healthy adults;
  • nursing;
  • Pilates;
  • step aerobics;
  • strength training;
  • survey

mcgrath j.a., o’malley m. & hendrix t.j. (2011) Group exercise mode and health-related quality of life among healthy adults. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(3), 491–500.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to identify the difference between mode of group exercise and health-related quality of life (HRQOL), to determine the associations between mode of group exercise chosen by participants and their demographic characteristics, and to identify themes from narrative comments for each group exercise modality.

Background.  Regular exercise has been shown to improve HRQOL in the general population. However, few studies have compared mode of exercise – Pilates, step aerobics, and strength training – and their impact on HRQOL.

Method.  A comparison was conducted in 2009 between three groups of participants who met regularly at a fitness facility. The English version of the RAND 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36) was used to collect data. One open-ended question was analysed by content analysis.

Results.  In total, 143 adults participated in the study. There was a statistically significant association between mode of exercise and length of time the participants had been exercising (χ2 = 33·42, d.f. = 4, < 0·001). There was a statistically significant difference in the Energy/Fatigue domain of the SF-36 between two modes of exercise: Strength Training and Pilates (= −2·67, d.f. = 2, = 0·008). Qualitative data revealed two themes that motivated healthy behaviours: personal, and interpersonal.

Conclusion.  Modes of group exercise influence HRQOL domains among adults. Healthcare providers need to understand what mode of exercise people are participating in order to educate them to achieve a better quality of life and to motivate those who are inactive.