EXERCISE IN RAMADAN
Ramadan is almost coming to an end and this is the last article in the “Nutrition in Ramadan” series. Good health is composed of 70% diet and 30% exercise, hence 3 of my previous articles were on healthy eating in Ramadan and it only is fitting that the last article is dedicated to exercise in Ramadan!
When I talk about exercise in Ramadan I get some extreme reactions, ranging from mildly surprised yet impressed looks to “have you lost your mind” expressions! However fasting does not mean your body stops functioning! It does and actually works more efficiently since fasting helps in detoxifying the body. However what must change is the type, duration and intensity of exercise.
So read on for essential tips on exercising in Ramadan. Based on what level of exercise we are used to before Ramadan we can choose to follow the best possible option for each one of us. This is the month we are fasting for Allah and getting closer to becoming the ideal Muslim and following the Sunnah as well. So remember Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) recommended swimming, archery and horse-riding as sports, but actually doing any exercise has immense health benefits and we should continue this in Ramadan apart from the 11 months of the year.
TIPS TO EXERCISE IN RAMADAN
- The most important tip to remember in Ramadan is to “maintain” your exercise routine and not to start something new. So if you have never exercised in the other 11 months of the year now is not a good idea to start a intense rigorous schedule, however a brisk walk is fine.
- A brisk 30 minute walk is the best form of exercise in the Ramadan when you are fasting. It makes sure your BMR doesn’t slump, makes you feel refreshed and energetic especially required when some people feel sluggish and lazy with the fasting and most importantly it does not tire you out or make you feel thirsty.
- If you want to go for a run/jog then time it such that either it is just before iftaar so you can get in the water soon after your run or after a light suhoor of dates, fruit and some oats or porridge. Remember you don’t want to run on an uncomfortably full tummy so remember to eat the rest of the dinner after your run.
- If you prefer the run after your dinner (and you don’t read taraweeh) then make sure you give a gap of at least 90 minutes post dinner to prevent cramps.
- So now for those people who prefer more of a intense workout try HIIT. These are higher intensity exercises and hence can be performed in a shorter duration.
- Plan these just before iftaar, after a light iftaar, after dinner or before Suhoor! Yes it may mean you might have to wake up 30 minutes earlier but hey no pain no gain remember! And also when people compliment you on your glowing face and fit figure on Eid, you know it will be worth it!
- For those of you who do weights and and are into muscle building, remember this is a month to maintain the muscle mass, not build it up. So give yourself some leeway and either reduce the amount of weights or the repetitions or both. Listen to your body and don’t push it beyond what you can manage in these 30 days.
- The first week of Fasting is the hardest when your body is detoxifying and you are getting used to the new meal and sleep schedules. SO go easy and yourself and slowly build up the intensity. Some people will find that they may go on a downward curve as the month ends and that’s ok too. You can rev up those engines soon after Eid!
- Remember to never miss the suhoor meal as you can load up on your carbs and the protein intake especially if you are doing weights. Try also having a good source of protein as well in your dinner; salmon, grilled chicken breast and a protein shake to get in your daily requirements of protein.
- Lastly remember this month of Ramadan is a special blessing from Allah and the main priority of this month is to attain Taqwa and to do our utmost Ibadah this month. So make sure you exercise in moderate amounts so as to not overtire yourself and take you away from doing your acts of worship like fasting, prayers and charity. Also remember to sleep as much as your body needs, eat healthy and spend quality time with family and friends.
Remember that cooking healthy food and exercising to take care of our body might take some time but it is also a form of worship if done with that intention, not to mention that you can also keep doing dhikr while cooking, walking and exercising.
So I hope this series of “ Nutrition in Ramadan” articles helped you to learn more about the benefits of fasting, plan a healthy iftaar and suhoor meal plan, incorporate Sunnah foods with the right niyyah and also follow a health exercise schedule!
Do share them with your family and friends so they may benefit as well and please leave a comment below as I love reading what you have to say.
I hope you have had a blessed Ramadan and have a joyful, beautiful Eid with your loved ones!
Eat Healthy and Stay Blessed…