“Exercise helps maintain brain connections and counters brain shrinkage from Parkinson’s disease as well as from brain aging,” wrote Eric Ahlskog, a neurologist and author of The New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book.

More exercise is also being increasingly linked by researchers to faster stroke recoveries – and lower stroke risk.

A systematic review of evidence published in November in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) examined 19 studies of aerobic training programmes for stroke survivors.

The researchers found that programmes providing two to three exercise sessions a week, for 30 to 90 minutes per session for eight to 18 weeks, resulted in significant improvements in aerobic capacity and the distance the stroke survivor could walk in “the six-minute walk test”.

That exercise is a force for good may seem patently obvious, but it is “only in the last five or six years that medical guidelines in most countries have stated that the first line of treatment should be exercise and movement,” says Dan Rice, spokesperson for rehabilitation company David.

David is a long-established Finnish firm with its roots in sports science and research. But three decades ago it diversified into rehabilitation of muscular-skeletal and neurological conditions. Its exercise-based approach to treatment is now in high demand, with 1,000 clinics in 40 countries.

Dan says: “We’re using exercise as a formalised, medical approach to muscular and neurological conditions. “When patients come into our clinic, they are evaluated on all of our devices.

“This gives us an understanding of their functional deficiencies and we can use this baseline evaluation to deliver a treatment, which is effectively a dosage of exercise.”

David has 17 machines that each have very specific biomechanics.

“For example, in terms of spinal care, our devices will affect or train very, very specific parts of the back, blocking out all bigger muscles.

“Then obviously the data side of what we do is extremely important. The systems have a form of intelligence and learning.

“So, based on how the patients perform and the feedback they give, there will be an adaption in the training protocols.”