Mathew Sorensen, from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and the Puget Sound Department of Veterans Affairs, and his colleagues conducted a study to evaluate whether energy intake and energy expenditure relate to kidney stone formation.
They studied 84,225 postmenopausal women participating in the Women's Health Initiative, which has been gathering information such as dietary intake and physical activity in women since the 1990s.
After adjusting for multiple factors including body mass index, the researchers found that physical activity was associated with up to a 31 percent decreased risk of kidney stones.
Dr. Sorensen said that even small amounts of exercise may decrease the risk of kidney stones and it does not need to be marathons, as the intensity of the exercise does not seem to matter.
Women could get the maximum benefit by performing 10 metabolic equivalents per week, which is the equivalent of about three hours of average walking, four hours of light gardening, or one hour of moderate jogging.
The team also discovered that consuming more than 2200 calories per day increased the risk of developing kidney stones by up to 42 percent and obesity was also a risk factor for stone formation.
Being aware of calorie intake, watching their weight, and making efforts to exercise are important factors for improving the health of patients overall, and as it relates to kidney stones, Dr. Sorensen said.
The study is published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.