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After a long, taxing day at the office, going to the gym is probably the last thing you want to do. We all know that fitness is key to our physical and mental health, but exercise is super important in combating work stress. According to a new study published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, being stressed out at work increases your risk of cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and a poor lipid blood profile. Yikes. Luckily, there’s one thing you can do to combat these risks.

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When researchers studied the fitness levels of 200 Swedish workers, they found that exercise was a key factor in determining how their bodies responded during high-stress moments. Employees who didn’t exercise showed high levels of LDL cholesterol when confronted with high stress, while the physically fit group did not. During low stress moments, their LDL cholesterol levels were fairly similar.

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We’ve all been there — despite the best of intentions, the couch sounds infinitely more appealing than the treadmill after a stressful work day. But pushing yourself to do some cardio could make future workdays easier on your body and mind. When you look at it that way, a gym session isn’t so bad. You’ll get a good return on your investment — science says so.