According to the research, the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes was cut by between 30 and 40 per cent with just three-and-a-half hours of exercise a week. (Agencies)
It was also found that just an hour's workout every week could cut the risk by 13 percent.
The study, which followed 100,000 women, also showed muscle-strengthening exercises such as yoga and weight lifting fend off the condition.
Scientists showed that those doing at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week - and at least an hour of muscle-strengthening - had the best results.
Published by the journal PLOS Medicine, the study was carried out by scientists from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark.
Researchers studied 99,316 middle-aged and older women, who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, for eight years. During the period, 3,491 women developed Type 2 diabetes.
They studied the effects of weekly time spent on resistance exercise, lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity.
"Our study suggests that engagement in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities (resistance exercise, yoga, stretching, toning) is associated with a lower risk of (Type 2 diabetes)," the researchers said.
"Despite limitations to which this research can be applied to women in general, it underlines the message that leading an active healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes," said Richard Elliott, research communications officer at Diabetes, UK.
According to the research, the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes was cut by between 30 and 40 per cent with just three-and-a-half hours of exercise a week.