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Risk for Kidney Stones Lowered by Exercise, Study Finds

Update Date: May 04, 2013 12:03 PM EDT

Finding out that exercise has even more health benefits should be of no surprise. Research has consistently proven that physical activity can benefit overall health. Just in case people are still not motivated to exercise, a new study announced one more benefit of exercising particularly for women over the age of 50. This new study, headed by Dr. Mathew Sorensen of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, found that women who added even a little bit of exercise to their routine can cut their risk of developing kidney stones by one third.

"Every little bit makes a difference," Sorensen stated.

Sorensen and his colleagues looked at the data compiled of over 85,000 women who were 50-years-old or older. These participants were already enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative study, which is a government-funded study. The researchers had information regarding the women's weight and height. On top of that, the participants had answered yearly questionnaires describing their diets and exercise activity. After eight years of data, the researchers found that three percent of the participants developed kidney stones. Kidney stones affect nearly nine percent of people and although the condition is more common in men, the rate of the condition has increased in women over the last 15 years by 70 percent.

The researchers found that the women who had up to five METs per week, which was a measurement of activity exertion determined by the researchers, had a 16 percent decreased chance of developing kidney stones in comparison to women who did not exercise. For women who had anywhere from five to 10 METs per week, they had a 22 percent lower risk for kidney stones. The percentage jumped to 31 for women who had over 10 METs per week.

" We are not asking people to run marathons. This is just a very mild to moderate additional amount of activity," Sorensen explained. Kidney stones can be caused by obesity, calcium supplements, and salt intake. The researchers explained that exercising not only decreases the chances for obesity, it also allows the body to sweat out salt and retain calcium in the bones. Although this study is limited to a particular group of women, the findings could help prevent kidney stones, which are extremely painful to pass.

The study was planned to be presented at the American Urological Association conference in San Diego, CA. 

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