It's Christmas Eve and if you are planning to go out and celebrate tonight and over the next week or so by feasting, do note that some new research suggests that if you gain any weight in the process, don't assume that exercise will be able to undo the damage.
Early this month, the BBC put out a report which said that exercise benefits vary widely among individuals. The report cited a Louisiana University study in which researchers put 742 people through a strenuous 20-week endurance training programme.
Over the course of the programme, measures such as oxygen consumption improved in some, but not in others. While the average maximum oxygen consumption improved by 17 percent, some participants improved by 40 percent while another group showed no improvement at all.
Similar patterns were seen when other fitness measures such as cardiac output, blood pressure, heart rate were checked, as well as for insulin resistance, a marker of risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Mark Hargreaves, of Deakin University, Melbourne, was quoted in the report as saying: "We need to recognise that, although on average exercise may have clear benefits, it may not work for everyone. Some people may do better to change their diet."
Which leads to another BBC report today. This report cited a study by a group of Harvard School of Public Health researchers on more than 116,000 women nurses which found that physical activity did not totally compensate for the higher death risk associated with being obese.
The researchers estimate that excess weight and physical inactivity together could account for about a third of all premature deaths, two-thirds of deaths from cardiovascular disease, and a fifth of deaths from cancer among non-smoking women.
They defined excess weight as a body-mass index (weight in kg divided by the square of the height in meters) of 25 or more. Women who did more than 3.5 hours per week of exercise were considered "active".
Lean women who exercised less than 3.5 hours per week increased their risk of early death by 55 percent. Obese women who worked out for at least 3.5 hours a week increased their risk by 91 percent and those who were obese and inactive increased their risk of a premature death by 142 percent.
The researchers said the key to a long life, for both men and women, is to keep weight down and take regular exercise.
And if you can't help bingeing over the next week of festivities, you can at least take that as a New Year resolution.