Keeping Active During Ramadan

Currently, Muslims around the world are observing the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During the month of fasting it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so to help our community keep active during Ramadan we have compiled information from many sources into one easy to read blog.

Adnan Gandhi, fitness enthusiast and co-owner of CORE Gym in Karachi says that “for those people fasting, Ramadan is a great opportunity to gain lean muscle because of the extended periods of time between meals and negative caloric daily intake. Also because cardio ends up being limited or tough to consistently maintain due to the timing of Iftari and long periods of dehydration.”

Although Ramadan is not a time to push your limits and set personal records, there’s still ways to maintain your workouts and schedules if you want too. As Ramadan is a time for worship, self-reflection and an opportunity to become a better person, it is known that Muslims across the world use this holy month of fasting and prayer to restore not only their relationship with God, but their relationship with themselves.

It is tough to maintain a daily workout during Ramadan so it is recommended to use a variety of training techniques to keep things interesting and get maximum muscle activation for workouts that are essentially short of pre-fuel.

3 Key Principles of Exercising During Ramadan

1. Eat and drink the right things during non-fasting hours.

2. Do light exercise.

3. Make sure you get enough sleep.

Sleep

A lot of us who exercise during Ramadan tend to find it difficult, not because of lack of food or water, but lack of sleep.

Waking up early to cook, pray and then have a little rest before going ahead with our days as usual is tiring. Sleep deprivation has many effects including fatigue, which can greatly impact us when we exercise. Dr Ranj Singh, resident doctor for ITV’s This Morning, says sleep should be prioritised just as much as your diet during Ramadan.

There is evidence that people who sleep better tend to eat and snack less during the day, so a good night’s sleep may also help you control your cravings when fasting. We know sleeping at night is tricky during Ramadan, so suggest getting in naps wherever you can during the day to make up for lost hours of sleep.

 

Know Your Limits

Each of our bodies are unique and therefore have different tolerance levels for exercising during Ramadan. We all need to make sure that we treat our bodies with respect when fasting, as doing too much can seriously and detrimentally effect us.

By reducing the intensity of our your training, doing light exercise with lighter weights and less reps, your body will still get the workout you desire and will also be able to handle it. You’ll still feel the effects after too!

It is recommended and highlighted by many that during Ramadan, working out in the morning is easier as you have built energy stores overnight which will fuel your workout. Walking to the mosque instead of driving and taking the stairs rather than lifts are also great ways to introduce exercise into your daily routine during Ramadan.

 

Food For Thought

With a window of around six hours a day when you can eat and drink, mostly overnight, it is important to think about what you consume in your pre-dawn meal and your evening meal, to make sure you have enough energy throughout the day. Dr Ranj advises that you avoid the temptation of too many sugary, oily or fried foods – which we know can be hard!

Making sure your diet is varied and has a good balance of all the major food groups – carbohydrates, proteins and fats, including lots of fruit and vegetables – is always an important consideration to take when eating but during Ramadan eating a good balance of these food groups is very important.

Another good tip is to eat foods that release energy slowly, this way you will feel less hungry between meals and it will keep you going. Oats, wholegrains and fibre high foods will give you the slow energy release you’re looking for!

 

Drink Plenty

Pay attention to hydration and make sure you drink plenty!

Staying hydrated is very important anyway but during Ramadan you need to make sure you hydrate enough during non-fasting hours to keep yourself well. Keeping hydrated is so important as it will affect how much energy you have and your alertness during the day.

 

Everything in moderation is the key concept when looking at what to eat, drink and how much exercise to do during Ramadan. If you are going to fast, then why not use it as an opportunity to think about what you are eating and make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle?

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