When frigid temperatures are barely reaching the teens, it's easy to want to come home, get in a pair of fluffy sweats and stay there for the rest of the night. Promising to keep that New Year's resolution of getting to the gym five days a week is an admirable goal, but for those not looking to pay for a membership or even break a sweat, just finding ways to stay active and have fun can sometimes be a challenge when going outside is not an option.

When frigid temperatures are barely reaching the teens, it's easy to want to come home, get in a pair of fluffy sweats and stay there for the rest of the night. Promising to keep that New Year's resolution of getting to the gym five days a week is an admirable goal, but for those not looking to pay for a membership or even break a sweat, just finding ways to stay active and have fun can sometimes be a challenge when going outside is not an option. 

Stacey Halpin, a fitness instructor at All American Fitness in Blue Springs, has helped recommend a few ways to get out of hibernation without pumping any iron. Here are The Examiner's Top 10 ways to get unglued from the tube and get out this winter.


10 Go window shopping with a friend. Meeting friends is one of the best ways to stay motivated, Halpin says. So grab a buddy and walk the mall, and don't forget to use the stairs instead of the escalator. The Independence Center is a large mall with two stories, and if the purse stays closed, this idea won't even cost a dime.

9 Clean the house or teach Fido a new trick. When snow has piled itself waist high and even the walk to the car is too daunting, Halpin recommends vacuuming, dusting and doing dishes as a good way to kill two birds with one stone. “Little stuff you can do around the home can be a workout if you think about it,” she said. Pet owners can use extra time to teach the dog to play dead, or if the snow is really high, teach the cat to use the toilet instead of the litter box.

8 Check out a museum. There are many museums in Kansas City, but Independence is also known for its historic sites. There is the Harry Truman Library and Museum, the 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home Museum on the Square, the National Frontier Trails Museum, Leila's Hair Museum and the Harry S. Truman home.

7 Go to an arcade or indoor sports center. This isn't just for kids. Challenge buddies to a game of air hockey or Big Buck Hunter. Local bowling alleys have plenty of arcade games, and even the kids won't complain about this one. SportsCity in Blue Springs has three baseball cages and one softball cage inside the facility available for rent, with both slow or fast pitch.

6 Join the table tennis club. As part of the Independence Parks and Recreation, the table tennis club meets from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays at the Truman Memorial Building. This is an ongoing program, and only costs $5 to be a part of their yearly membership program. Frank Buhro, the program supervisor at Parks and Recreation, says the table tennis club fluctuates members but is popular during the winter months when people want to stay inside. “It's a steady group, but we see new faces all the time,” he says. Each week brings around 20 or so people of all ages and all skill levels.

5 Put on your dancing shoes. Do the two-step, tango, swing or a combination of steps, whether it is in a class or at a club. “I had a friend that lost a lot of weight by going out dancing, but she also wasn't a drinker,” Halpin said. If the club or bar scene isn't fitting, find a dance class around town. For those 50 years young and older, the Palmer Center offers line dancing and senior tap class. Line dancing lessons are from 12:05 to 12:25 p.m. for beginners and open dancing is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays. The cost is $1. Cathy Cash, center attendant, said the center usually averages around 50 people for the dancing. There is also afternoon ballroom dancing on Wednesdays. Vesper Hall also offers square dancing from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for beginners the first, third and fifth Monday of the month for beginners and the second and fourth for intermediate for $3. They also have a country dance on Wednesdays, Feb. 3 through March 3, with social dancing from 7 to 8 p.m.

4 Join a recreational or competitive league. Whether it's basketball, soccer, volleyball or even bowling, there are many leagues around town. SportsCity in Blue Springs offers coed indoor soccer leagues, and free agents can fill out a form  to try to get placed on a team.  Craigslist.org, under their activities link, can be a good place to go to look for teams trying to find more players. Call either the Independence or Blue Springs Parks and Recreation for more information on league play. Contact a local bowling alley and see if they have league play available.

3 Go indoor rock climbing. Ibex Climbing Gym, 801 N.W. South Outer Road, is an indoor climbing gym with more than 6,900 square feet of overhanging, vertical and slab terrain for beginners to advanced climbers. They have evening hours during the week for convenient after-work climbs. Ibex offers day-passes, punch cards, and month and annual passes. Their required Belay Safety class will teach newbies about gear and climbing techniques. Call 816-228-9988 for more information.

2 Take a class and try something new. Whether it's yoga, pilates, or zumba, find a class that will be enjoyable. While challenging, yoga can relax body and mind, and there are classes for all levels. Gyms like All-American Fitness usually have yoga classes, or the Kansas Siddhi Yoga studio or Everyday Yoga in Blue Springs are places to try. Studio on Main has pilates and yoga classes in Independence. While some people consider yoga a “wussy” class, according to Halpin, these classes “use muscles you never thought you had.”  Zumba is a fusion of Latin and international dance moves, and classes are held at local gyms, or the Palmer Center offers a Zumba class on Wednesdays for seniors.

1 Learn to ice skate at the Independence Events Center. What a better way to use those arm muscles than getting up off the ice over and over again during National Skating Month?
Open skating hours, but classes and six-week courses that teach everything from basic ice skating to figure skating to shooting a puck Mavericks' style. Michelle Lauerman, skating director at the Events Center, says Learn to Skate is an affordable way to learn in a group environment. At $75 for all six weeks, the class price also includes free public skate sessions during class sessions, so participants can keep gliding even after class ends. Classes are for ages 3 all the way to adults. Even the adult classes have been popular, Lauerman said.“We have had a huge response for the six-week course,” she said. “There are about 10 to 12 adults in each class with three classes per week, so about 30 adults in each session.”
The instructors are knowledgeable people that live in the area who grew up skating and teaching people how to skate, finally having an opportunity to teach with the new rink, Lauerman said.
The next six-week session starts Feb. 15, and again on March 29. For more information, go to independenceeventscenter.com, under the “community ice” tab, or call 816-795-7577.