Eating and sleeping routines change during the holy month of Ramadan unlike any other month. The thirty-day period is the perfect opportunity for anyone who is trying to lose weight through healthy diet and exercise. Some people may create an exercise planner in advance while fasting, as some prefer to work out before Iftar, and others after.
Research has shown that fasting for 30 consecutive days without performing any physical exercise or activity reduces strength and physical fitness. Muslims have to remain active in the month of Ramadan to stay healthy.
This year, Ramadan occurs during summer. High temperatures should be taken into account when performing physical activity.
A few questions come to mind when fasting and are as follows:When is the best time for a fasting person to work out - before or after Iftar?
1. Before Iftar
Precautions should be taken and proper guidelines followed when working out before Iftar. Exercising just before Iftar should be limited and for no longer than 60 minutes, preferably in an air-conditioned location. After you break the fast, drink sufficient amounts of fluids and water to replenish salts and minerals lost by the body, and have a good rest.
2. After Iftar
It is advisable to perform physical activity three hours after you break the fast as by then the body has completed the digestion process, and preferably in an air-conditioned location. Tips and guidelines for exercising during Ramadan
- Perform physical activity for 30 minutes at least every day in an air-conditioned location.
- Avoid aggressive and high-intensity exercise during daytime and especially in hot weather. Hot days increase body fluid loss which could lead to dehydration.
- Choose a convenient time to work out during Ramadan, either just before Iftar or two to three hours after Iftar. Avoid physical activity immediately after you break your fast as all of the body’s energy will be directed towards digestion of food.
- Individuals should consult with their physician before starting any physical activity if they are unsure of their health.
- Reduce physical inactivity, such as sitting in front of the television for extended periods of time, and organize instead family activities such as going for a walk or performing household chores.
- Stop any physical activity immediately if you experience dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing or chest pain.
- Drink sufficient quantities of water between Iftar and Suhour to avoid dehydration during fasting.
Hind Rustom Baqer, Health Counselling Expert
Health Education Programs
Ministry of Public Health