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Kayla Regan, Felicia White, David Harvey and Laura E. Middleton

Exercise and mental stimulation may improve cognition, physical function, and well-being of people with dementia (PWD) and older adults more generally. This study evaluated changes in physical function, physical activity, exercise self-efficacy, and mental well-being with participation in Minds in Motion®, a weekly exercise and mental stimulation program for PWD (n = 343) and care partners (n = 318). Most physical function measures improved among PWD and care partners (endurance, upper and lower body strength, upper body flexibility; ps ≤ .009). Participants also reported a significant increase in weekly frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity (ps < .001) and in mental well-being (p < .001). Exercise self-efficacy did not change (p = .16). These results suggest that Minds in Motion® yields improvements in physical function, which may translate into better functional abilities for PWD and improved ability for their partners to care for people living with dementia.

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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.