By Brooke Katz

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — We are more than a week into the New Year, and for many of you that means you’re several days into a new exercise plan.

“Fitness journeys are the most important thing we do to stay active and healthy,” said Dr. John Christoforetti, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Texas Health Allen and Texas Health Orthopedic Specialists. He cautions though, jumping into a new plan too hard, too fast can lead to less than desirable results.

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“I think it’s often difficult for us to assess how much we can still chew, especially if we get older than say high school age,” Dr. Christoforetti said. “We may remember what our bodies could do at 18, and it may not exactly be the no pain, no gain method that gets us going that works for many teenagers.”

First and foremost, if you’re new to fitness, the doctor suggested talking with your primary care physician. If you’re getting back into the game after a time out, he suggested starting from a baseline you remember being easy.

“If somebody recalls being a runner, they might not start running as fast and as hard as they can remember,” he said. Instead he said to try to remember what your easiest workout used to be, and give it a try.

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Dr. Christoforetti said you can expect some soreness when you start out, but you shouldn’t be in pain.

“Things that come associated with a pop and an all at once pain that make you unable to move or they create a limp, are something to get checked out.”

When it comes to routine, he said to find something you actually like to do. You’re far more likely to stick to it.

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“The whole thing is intended to make you happier and to improve your life and improve your life quality,” Dr. Christoforetti said. “Putting that awful yoke of all this discipline, all the suffering, and all the strain on yourself. That’s not going to necessarily be something you can do for two, three, four months in a row. It’s depressing and it doesn’t help you out. So I think the biggest tip is just to make sure you’re happy. You’re enjoying yourself and everything that you do when you go out, even if it’s a little uncomfortable, it’s not painful, and it actually improves your quality of life.”