Physical activity rivalled some heart drugs and was better than stroke medicine according to a study of 340,000 patients which is published in the British Medical Journal.
As drug prescriptions continue to rise, only about 14pc of adults exercise regularly and up to a third fail to meet the recommended rates of physical exercise.
The researchers found that exercise was more effective than drugs for stroke patients.
They concluded that physical activity is potentially as effective as many drug interventions and they have called for more trials to assess the disparity between the two.
“In cases where drug options provide only modest benefit, patients deserve to understand the relative impact that physical activity might have on their condition,” they say.