It looks like there might be another reason for women to hit the gym. New research points out that it could help protect you from diabetes.

Running, swimming, biking -- calorie-burning activities that make us look and

feel better are also the exercises that doctors say can help us stave off diabetes, which affects more than 25 million Americans. However, a new study shows lifting weights may be the way to go to further cut diabetes risk in women.

Harvard University researchers and their Danish counterparts looked at a group of nearly 100,000 women over an eight-year period. They found that women who did resistance activities like weightlifting and yoga had a 40-percent lower risk of developing diabetes. What's more, women who did both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises were only a third as likely to develop diabetes compared to those who were inactive.

So the best recipe for avoiding diabetes may be a one-two punch, getting aerobic exercise but making time to pump some iron, too.