During Ramadan, Muslims fast by abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset. Fasting is also advocated in various other religions and sometimes for medical reasons. Although regular exercise is important for reducing your risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, you may be wondering if you can still exercise while fasting, or how active you should be during fasting.
Healthy fasting has been shown to have many benefits
These include helping you lose weight, preventing the onset or progression of diabetes, lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Many people think that they can’t be physically active when fasting, but this is simply not true. There are safe ways to exercise during the Holy month of Ramadan.
When we fast, our bodies become less active because there is less energy from food
It is best to avoid strenuous exercise during the fasting hours. Intense workouts can lead to dizziness and nausea. Instead of lifting heavy weights or long distance running, consider going for a walk, lifting lighter weights, or doing some stretches. Anything that gets your body moving is exercise and just 30 minutes per day can benefit your health.
Use Ramadan to gain control of your weight
Combining low-impact exercise with fasting helps you lose more weight than fasting or exercising alone. Also, by being active during Ramadan, you increase your self-discipline, which can help you be more conscious of what and how much you eat.
Top tips for healthy exercise during the Holy month
- If you do choose to do exercise, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during non-fasting hours
- Stay active with low-impact exercise immediately before or a couple of hours after breaking the fast
- Ensure you get enough sleep or consider napping to allow your body to rest and prevent fatigue
- Avoid intense workouts such as heavy weight lifting, long-distance running, or intense speed or agility drills
- Eat nutritious meals to keep your body energised
at Iftar, the first meal to break the fast after sundown, and Suhoor,
the early morning meal eaten before sunrise
Remember to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise routine if you have an existing health condition. If you already exercise regularly, you may need to modify your current program. Schedule an appointment to discuss with your doctor, your plans to exercise and fast during Ramadan.