Regular exercise has been associated with numerous health benefits. In response, the promotion of regular exercise for patients has become a recommended component of preventive health care. The extent to which primary care physicians encourage their patients to exercise and the factors associated with exercise promotion are not well elucidated. We surveyed the attitudes and practices of 63 family physicians and 63 internists regarding exercise promotion to patients. We evaluated the associations between demography, cognition, belief, and behavior with exercise promotion. Several factors were associated with physicians' recommending exercise to their patients. A logistic regression model suggests that physicians who have a follow-up plan, who have been in practice over 10 years, who exercise themselves, and who estimate that more than 10% of their patients exercise encourage exercise in greater than or equal to 50% of their patients.