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Nicolas Hobson, Sherry L. Dupuis, Lora M. Giangregorio and Laura E. Middleton

Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia are often physically inactive, despite associated benefits. This study explored the barriers, facilitators, and preferences for exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The authors conducted 2 focus groups among persons living with MCI/early dementia (n = 4, 6 participants) and 2 focus groups among care partners (n = 3, 4 participants). The transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis, guided by the social-ecological model. Three themes emerged, reinforcing motivation to exercise, managing changes to cognitive and physical health, and variable perceptions of dementia, each with influences from individual, care partner, and community levels. Low intrinsic motivation, poor physical/cognitive health, and stigma restricted the exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The care partners motivated their partners and provided company and transportation to exercise. People with MCI/early dementia also indicated poor access to exercise providers and exercise opportunities that met their needs and preferences was a barrier to exercise participation. Knowledge translation research should develop exercise interventions at the individual, social, and community levels.