The purposes of these analyses were to determine whether Strong Hearts, Healthy Communities (SHHC), a multilevel, cardiovascular disease risk reduction program for overweight, sedentary rural women aged 40 or older, led to improved functional fitness, and if changes in fitness accounted for weight loss associated with program participation. Sixteen rural communities were randomized to receive the SHHC intervention or a control program. Both programs involved groups of 12-16 participants. The SHHC program met 1 hour twice a week for 24 weeks where participants engaged in aerobic exercise and progressive strength training. Program content addressed diet and social and environmental influences on heart-healthy behavior. The control group met 1 hour each month for 6 months, covering current dietary and physical activity recommendations. Objective measures of functional fitness included the 30-second arm curl, 30-second chair stand, and 2-minute step test. Self-reported functional fitness was measured by the Physical Functioning Subscale of the MOS Short Form-36 (SF-36 PF). The SHHC program was associated with increased strength and endurance, as represented by greater improvement in the chair stand and step test; and with increased physical function, as represented by the SF-36 PF. Adjustment for change in aerobic endurance, as measured by the step test, accounted for two-thirds of the intervention effect on weight loss at the end of the intervention. SHHC participants experienced improved performance on objective measures of functional fitness and self-reported measures of physical function, and changes in weight were partially accounted for by changes in aerobic fitness. © 2019 National Rural Health Association.