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Exercise training is a regular therapy for stroke patients in clinic. However, whether the early exercise is beneficial for stroke patients is still controversial. The review was performed in databases of OVID, PUBMED, and ISI Web of Science, from respective inception to December 2017. In this review, we summarize the effect of different exercise intensity, initiation time, and style on ischemic stroke. Moreover, the possible mechanism is also discussed. The conclusion is that the voluntary exercise is better in promoting the functional recovery following stroke compared to forced exercise; too early initiated exercise might play a harmful role following stroke, while early initiated exercise might exert benefits after stroke; mild and moderate intensity exercise training could generate better neuroprotection in comparison with high intensity exercise training; early excise training could regulate the process of brain edema, cell apoptosis, oxidative damage, stem cells and other mechanisms in order to exert neuroprotection for brain.