Toledo’s Pediatric Exercise Program will help Youth Get Healthy

We’ve often been reminded by our doctors of the importance of exercise. Not only can it decrease the risk of disease, help with managing weight, and improve the quality of your sleep, but it can also help with mental health. It is clear that it is somewhat essential to move your body regularly. Even so, for our youth, getting exercise is not as easy as it used to be. Electronics often make getting outside and enjoying nature seem less appealing. 

To help encourage exercise for kids, Dr. Wendy Wexler and Carrie Baker, CPNP, are working together to build a new pediatric exercise program. 

Dr. Wexler and Baker are both practicing medical professionals at Maumee Bay Pediatrics through The Toledo Clinic. They specialize in helping young patients with overall physical wellness, ADHD/ADD management, acute and chronic conditions, weight management, and mental health. It is their hope that this new program will help young patients with their physical, mental, and social well-being. 

The benefits of nature

The Peds Exercise Program is set to begin next spring and will be modeled off the Parkrx program, a movement that began in 2013 when park associations began noticing a trend: medical professionals were prescribing nature to help their patients with physical and mental health. 

Since that time, the collaboration between medical professionals and parks has continued to grow, and with Toledo’s Peds Exercise Program, it will have a local impact as well. With the amazing park system we have in Toledo, it seems like a great way to encourage children to get out and enjoy the nature our area has to offer. 

Dr. Wexler explained that the plan for her program is to have school-aged children meet twice a month at various Toledo parks and walk two to three miles with a guardian and no electronics. 

“The purpose is to improve children’s overall health, get them with other children in-person to socialize, and to be in nature,” she said. 

While all school aged children will be encouraged to participate, she explained that children who are not already involved in school sports or travel clubs would benefit more, as well as students who have been socially isolated, or who have dealt with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. 

Instilling a healthy lifestyle

By focusing on children with this program, Dr. Wexler is hoping it will eventually increase the number of adults who are living a healthy lifestyle. When a healthy lifestyle is instilled in a person at a young age, it’s easier for that individual to carry on their healthy lifestyle in the future. 

When a child and their guardian attend one of the bi-monthly gatherings, they can expect a fun time while enjoying nature. Additionally, Dr. Wexler is hoping to include some short explanations on various health-related topics such as how to stretch effectively or what to look for in proper footwear as well.  

Parents interested in getting their child involved in the Peds Exercise Program will be able to enroll their child through a link on the Maumee Bay Pediatric website closer to next spring. 

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