By ANGIE CARNATHAN
January is a popular month for working out. Some local residents choose to join gyms, while some enjoy the great outdoors. However, with January often comes rain and cold temperatures, making it difficult for some to continue to get their daily walk in. The Sportsplex in Starkville offers a great opportunity for everyone to have the chance to keep on walking, completely free of charge.
The Sportsplex houses an indoor walking track that is open from 5- 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 7-3 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.
“We have a lot of regular walkers,” said Starkville Parks and Recreation Sport Coordinator Sheila Runnels. “Probably around 150-200 a day.”
Runnels said even though they have yet to see a significant increase in walkers thus far in January, they expect to see more when the weather gets worse.
“We’ve had unusually spring-like weather so far, and sometimes when the weather is nice we do see less people using the track,” Runnels said.
One person who takes advantage of the track is Starkville resident Marilyn Jordan, who said in addition to bad weather, the smooth, flat surface it offers dictates her usage of the indoor track.
“I use it because sometimes I just can’t do hills, and this is just such a nice, level walking track,” Jordan said.
Runnels said she also likes the ease and affordability the track offers.
“There are no fees to pay; you just come in an sign in,” Runnels said. “Then you sign out when you’re done. It’s that simple.”
Runnels, who said she’s been in the habit of working out for a while, said the multiple benefits she receives from her regular exercise routine are what keep her going.
“I just always feel better,” Runnels said. “When it comes to stress or anxiety, I just like to think of it as I’m ‘walking it off,’” Jordan said.
Runnels said the Sportsplex offers other affordable options for people who want to get moving more in the new year.
“We have our indoor basketball courts, which are open to the public during regular business hours, unless they are being used by our youth basketball leagues,” Runnels said. “We have a lot of people who just come up here at night and pick up games with whoever else is here.”
The Sportsplex also offers two racquetball courts for public use.
“For people who would like to use the basketball or racquetball courts, it’s just $2 a person and we provide the equipment,” Runnels said.
Starkville Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Lisa Cox said the Sportsplex is also offering some new aerobic classes in the near feature.
“We have lots of great new options for anyone who wants to try out some different classes,” Cox said. “We’re offering some new Zumba classes starting Jan. 9. We’ll have Zumba classes Monday and Wednesday 11:45 a.m. -12:30 p.m. and 5:15 - 6 p.m. in either the aerobics room or the activities room, depending on the day.”
Lauren Love, an instructor at the Sportsplex, said she also has some exciting options beginning Jan. 9.
“I teach morning fitness classes such as yoga/stretching, aerobics, boot camp and cardio kickboxing at the Sportsplex,” Love said. “Classes are small but we have a really great group of people, and I always try to have music to get us all pumped up so we always have fun.”
For more information on the any of the many fitness opportunities at the Sportsplex, visit http://www.starkvilleparks.com  or call Lisa Cox at 662-323-2294.