Exercising could help women cut their risk of developing kidney stones, a new study shows.

In a study presented at the American Urological Association conference on Friday in San Diego, researchers said that women who were physically active reduced their risk of forming kidney stones by 30 percent. Counting gardening and moderating, the exercises need not be strenuous.

"The intensity of exercises does not matter," said Mathew Sorensen of the University of Washington School of Medicine told the press at a briefing. "There was no difference between women who performed primarily mild, moderate, or strenuous activity. The protective effect of increased activity was similar for all exercisers."

In the Women's Health Initiative study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 85,000 women ages 50 and older were recruited and accounted for in weight, height, body mass index (BMI), as well as their ranking on the obesity scale. Women who had prior history of kidney stones were not included in this final examination.

The women were also asked to answer yearly surveys that recorded their diet and report how frequently they exercised, which measured their metabolic equivalents (MET) every week.

Nearly 2,400, or 2.8 percent, of the women developed kidney stones after eight years in a follow-up analysis.

Specifically, women who were getting five METs every week, which means getting 1.25 hours of moderately-paced walking, reduced their risks of developing stones by 16 percent; while five to 10 METs per week cut the chances by 22 to 31 percent.

However, increasing your physical activity past 10 METs would have no added benefit to developing stones.

"We found that 87% of the women reported some type of physical activity, so this was active group of people," said Sorensen.

"You don't have to run a marathon to reduce the risk of kidney stones," he added. "Mild to moderate amounts of activity decreased the risk by 16% to 31%. The amount of activity is what mattered, not the intensity of exercise."

Five METs, or the equivalent of more than an hour of walking every week, also translates to two hours of light gardening or 30 minutes of jogging and could alleviate a woman from forming these small, hard deposits in the kidneys.

The study also found that drinking a lot of liquids and consuming less salt and meat was accounted for as a preventative measure for developing stones.

Researchers say nearly 10 percent of the American population develop stones. Within the past 15 years, the number of cases has increased by 70 percent, a rise to which women with poor weight control and metabolic conditions have contributed.