We’re just a day away from the most blessed month of the year. And it’s around this time that everyone begins worrying about their health, questioning how they’re going to boost staying fit and active while fasting when all the progress will eventually vanish with constant inundation of delicious food.
To others, this may seem trivial, but to us Muslims, the month of Ramadan almost always revolves around the extravagance to which we cook and eat our food.
However, all is not lost! We can still enjoy our wide arrays of deliciously delectable delights while also maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle during the auspicious month. (It’s just going to take a little bit of perseverance and determination!)
Why Fasting In the First Place
Fasting has many physical and mental benefits; it can boost your weight loss and improve your memory — which is why intermittent fasting is now so popular. That being said, we all know what the OG version of all types of fasting is.
During the month of Ramadan, our bodies will get accustomed to a smaller and more spaced-out diet. In other words, our appetites will automatically decrease. Our digestive systems get a break from constantly having to digest food, and our bodies adjust almost instantly.
The month also provides a chance for our bodies to detoxify and cleanse from harmful toxins. Ramadan boosts our brain development and accelerates our growth. Studies have also proved that fasting makes us more resilient, patient, and adaptable to change.
We’re also in higher spirits and our mood becomes way brighter, contrary to what most people believe (that no food makes us grouchy).
Ramadan itself has so many natural benefits for us, but we still have to pay attention to our decisions so that we can improve our own fitness and health.
Here are four easy tips that will help you maximise staying fit and active while fasting.
1. Eat in Moderation
It’s quite easy to overindulge ourselves in food during Iftar — especially when we have such a wide variety of food. From oily and fried food to desserts full of sugar, many Muslims consume almost double the amount of food they’d normally eat in the span of a few hours.
This can cause major health issues, including the rise of cholesterol and fat lipid in our bodies.
Having a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and plenty of nutrients and water will leave us feeling, will keep us refreshed for our Taraweh salah. Also, waking up for suhoor won’t feel like a chore.
Take your time, avoid inhaling your food, and make sure you give your stomach plenty of time to digest before you sneak in that late-night snack or extra chocolaty dessert. And most importantly, it is essential to stay hydrated!
Overeating causes fatigue and during such a spiritual month, that’s the last thing we want.
2. Exercise in Moderation
Exercising in Ramadan isn’t about building more muscle or getting that high-intensity weight training in. It’s about exercising in moderation and according to the needs of your body.
Avoid starting a new exercise regimen, and instead, work on honing your weaknesses and perfecting your strengths. Do some light and easy cardio or aerobic exercises, or even some strength training that gets your heart pumping without immensely tiring you out.
Your workouts shouldn’t exceed the 60-minute mark, in fact, keep your workouts to 30 or 45 minutes. A decrease in your workout intensity and time won’t affect you drastically. Keep your exercises light, so you can maintain your current weight and muscle mass without losing anything.
You can even follow light workouts on YouTube! Amanah Fitness has some excellent, easy-to-follow Ramadan workouts which are very helpful and do wonders during this month!
The Best Times to Exercise
During Ramadan, the amount of time we have to do our personal things is much shorter than a normal day (since most of our time should be spent worshipping Allah!). But while there is a limited amount of time to squeeze a workout in, you still can.
There are three essential times to work out during Ramadan: Before Suhoor, before Iftar, and after Iftar.
The reason for these specific timings is because when you exercise, you need to hydrate yourself and eat enough food to form energy. Without food and water, exercising will become a chore.
By working out before Suhoor, you have enough time to eat your fill and gain energy for the rest of the day without feeling lethargic.
When you exercise right before Iftar, you know that by the time you end your workout, you’ll be able to pile up on nutrients straight away.
And of course, exercising after Iftar is an obvious one, you get to eat anytime before or after your workout without worrying about fasting for the next few hours.
3. Set a List of Goals
Setting goals is important for any major task that we’d like to accomplish — and Ramadan is no exception.
That being said, make sure you set realistic goals to maintain your current weight or BMI.
Ramadan isn’t about losing ten kilos or gaining enough muscle to lift a car; it’s about being moderate and maintaining your lifestyle. This act of balance, in and of itself, is the ultimate key to staying fit and active while fasting.
4. Continue Your Lifestyle After Ramadan
It only takes anywhere between half a month to two months for a continuous action to become a habit. After a very short amount of time, this habit will gradually make its way into our routine and lifestyle.
On top of that, you can maximise staying fit and active by practicing the Sunnah of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.
The Bottom Line
Ramadan is a month for changing our bad habits to good ones and becoming a better person and a better Muslim. For that reason, continuing our Ramadan lifestyle into the months after it should be one of our most important goals!
So set your intention to maximise staying fit and active while fasting this year. Look through your schedule and plan out how you can practice self-care while fasting.
Remember, when you invest in your own wellbeing in Ramadan, you’ll perform Allah’s duties times better.
May Allah SWT accept all our efforts and fasts and make the upcoming month a month full of blessings and happiness.