This study was aimed at determining the effect of a group-based exercise program on the physical performance, muscle strength and quality of life (QoL) in older women. Twenty women performed an exercise program for 8 weeks, at the rehabilitation unit. Outcome measures included a 4-m and 20-m walk test, a 6-min walk test, stair climbing and chair rise time, timed up and go test, isokinetic muscle testing of the knee and ankle, and the short form-36 (SF-36) and geriatric depression scale (GDS) questionnaires. The mean age of the study group was 70.3 +/- 6.5 years. After the completion of the exercise program, all of the physical performance tests and the SF-36 scores for the participants showed statistically significant improvements (p < 0.05). In the isokinetic evaluations, most of angular velocities showed a significant increase in the peak torque (PT) values for knee extension and flexion, and for ankle plantar flexion (p < 0.05). We concluded that this exercise program, when applied to older women, resulted in improved physical performance, increased muscle strength measured in both the knee and ankle, and improvement in the scores, estimating the QoL. We have shown that this exercise program is both effective and reliable for this age group of women. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.