Muslims see Ramadan as a time for meditation and spiritual development, but Ramadan can be difficult for those trying to stay on track with their fitness objectives. While you are fasting from sunrise to sunset, it can be challenging to adequately fuel your body and maintain a regular exercise schedule. Yet, you can continue moving towards your fitness objectives throughout Ramadan with a little preparation and a few schedule modifications. It’s necessary to take care of your nutrition to keep your health and fitness level high. We talked about fitness tips, exercise, and the best time to exercise in Ramadan.
Exercise and sustaining your usual fitness program can be difficult after a long day of fasting. There’s a lot to consider and adapt if you want to keep training while fasting. Have a plan to keep up your fitness during this month rather than allowing your hard work at the gym goes to waste.
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Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
One of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is a mandatory religious obligation for all adult Muslims who are physically and intellectually capable, requires Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan fasting entails forgoing food, liquids, and other necessities throughout the day, from sunrise to dusk. A meal called iftar is served every evening to break the fast.
The goal of the fast is to develop more self-control, self-discipline, and empathy for the underprivileged and needy. It is also regarded as a way to atone for previous crimes and purify the soul. Ramadan is a period when Muslims aim to strengthen their bonds with one another through increased prayer, introspection, and charitable giving.
What are the Physiological Effect of Fasting?
Depending on the length and severity of the fast, fasting can have a variety of physiological impacts on the body. The following are a few frequent effects:
- Blood sugar levels drop as a result of the liver creating glucose from stored energy sources while you fast because your body’s glucose reserves are low. As a result, blood sugar levels may drop.
- Fasting has been demonstrated to boost insulin sensitivity, which means your body can use insulin to control blood sugar levels more effectively.
- Increased fat burning: The body switches to utilizing stored lipids during a fast instead of glucose as its main energy source, which might result in higher fat burning.
- Human growth hormone (HGH), which can assist maintain muscle mass and encourage fat burning, is one hormone that might fluctuate in the body’s levels as a result of fasting.
- Enhanced immune function: Research has indicated that fasting, which lowers inflammation and encourages the creation of white blood cells, can help strengthen the immune system.
- Enhanced cellular repair: The body uses the autophagy process, which is triggered by fasting, to remove damaged cells and replace them with new ones.
- Fasting has been demonstrated to lower the body’s inflammation, which has been linked to many chronic diseases.
How does the body provide energy during fasting?
Fasting triggers, the release of glucose from the body’s glycogen reserves in healthy people, or the body produces glucose from carbohydrates or other macronutrients like proteins and fat. The liver’s glycogen stores can frequently supply enough glucose for the brain and muscles for about 12 hours. As glycogen reserves are exhausted, stored fats are broken down to produce ketones, which the body can use as energy, preserving glucose for the brain.
Muslims in the UK frequently fast for longer than 12 hours each day, so by the late afternoon, they will likely have depleted all of their glycogen reserves and be turning to fat instead as a source of energy. However, if suhoor (the dawn meal) was skipped for some reason, this could cause the glycogen levels to deplete sooner and force the body to start burning stored fat for energy much earlier in the fasting day.
It should be emphasized, nevertheless, that fasting in diabetic patients has been associated with abnormalities of normal glucose metabolism, which could result in low or high blood sugar levels. Those with type 2 diabetes should seek treatment, especially those with type 1 diabetes if they are using numerous diabetes medicines or insulin.
Health and Fitness Tips during Ramadan
We are taking greater steps to support our members during Ramadan this year. For some great health and fitness advice during Ramadan, including a Low Impact Workout you can do at home or at the gym, check out our informative blog below!
To give continuous energy throughout the night, it is crucial to concentrate on nutrient-dense foods throughout your evening meal (Iftar). Lean proteins, whole grains, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables could be included in this. To keep your body working correctly during non-fasting hours, it’s also crucial to pay attention to staying hydrated.
Depending on when you plan to exercise and the dawn and sunset hours for that specific year, it is advised to try to fit in 2 or 3 meals within your non-fasting window.
The inability to drink any water while fasting is one of the most challenging aspects of Ramadan, therefore try to drink 2-3 liters of water during the 5-6 hour window when you are allowed to eat and drink.
It matters when you drink water as well. Try to drink a liter of water right after breaking your fast, and then add it between meals, to ensure that you are properly hydrated and prevent digestion from being affected.
Drinking a lot of water while eating is not advised because it can make you feel sated and interfere with normal food digestion.
However, if you do awaken before sunrise, this is a fantastic time to drink enough fluids before you begin fasting.
When it comes to exercising, it’s ideal to plan your sessions for when you’re not fasting and have the most energy. This can entail changing your typical schedule to exercise in the early morning or late at night.
Typically, it’s encouraged that you train after you break your fast, but as breaking the fast is typically a social occasion you might not want to lose out on that time with your loved ones.
Any high-intensity exercise will deplete your body’s glycogen (the body’s stored form of sugar), and you won’t be able to restore them until you break your fast, which could leave you feeling drained, lethargic, and distracted.
It’s also crucial to pay attention to your body and change the intensity of your workouts as necessary. It’s acceptable to take it easy and concentrate on stretching or low-intensity activities if you’re feeling lethargic or dehydrated.
Exercise throughout Ramadan can be beneficial for your spiritual journey in addition to your physical health. Exercise can be a kind of meditation and a means to strengthen your spiritual connection.
Low Impact Workouts for Ramadan
Don’t worry if you don’t have any workout equipment at home. You may make use of household items like tin cans and big water bottles.
Spend 30 seconds performing each exercise after the other. Repeat twice.
- Alternating knee taps
- Low-impact jumping Jack
- Squat to Jab
- Twist and reach
2. First Round
Do each exercise 12 times for three sets, in any order. After every set, take a 30-90 second break.
- Explosive squats
- Reverse lunge with kick
- Sumo squat to oblique crunch
- Squat to shoulder press
- Curtsey lunge bicep curl
- Dead lift bent over row
- Triceps kick backs
3. Ab Round
Do each exercise 12 times for three sets, in any order. After every set, take a 30-90 second break also.
- Mountain climbers
- Legs up crunch
- Bicycle crunch
- Plank Jack
- Single leg raises
Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next, taking care to extend both sides of your body as needed. Stretches can be repeated as needed.
- Arm across the body shoulder stretch
- Ear-to-shoulder stretch
- Chin to chest stretch
- Armpit stretch
- Standing side reach
- Triceps stretch
- Standing quadriceps stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
Best time to Exercise in Ramadan
This is the most frequently asked question, and for good reason. Due to hectic schedules, the timing of Ramadan is a significant element that worries the majority of individuals.
Let’s examine several timings:
1. After Iftar
A great time to exercise, but you don’t have much time. If you have a pre-workout meal at iftar and engage in a 30-minute HIIT, it might be effective for you.
2. After Taraweeh Prayers
You have plenty of time to work out after prayers. Pre-workout shake in hand, and head to the gym. If you stay up all night until Suhoor, it is doable.
3. Before Suhoor
Working out right before suhoor time will help you stay on schedule with your time and sleep if you are diligent and rise early enough. But most people find it unrealistic because it takes a lot of willpower and the correct quantity of sleep.
4. During Fasting
You can only exercise right before breaking your fast. Since most people are busy after iftar, it is a well-liked option. Most people have some free time before iftar, and some people think that exercising is a fantastic way to manage their time and keep in shape.
Fasted workouts are still being contested in terms of how they affect our bodies. Working out and sweating during your fast, according to some experts, is not recommended for your health. Exercise while dehydrated or hungry might induce muscle mass loss.
Some claim that exercising while fasting helps you lose more weight. To summarize, fasted cardio can be beneficial for weight loss, but fasted workouts should be avoided if you want to keep muscle.
Don’t forget that our Health & Fitness Coaches are always available to help you with your Ramadan fitness quest. If you have any questions about the membership options accessible to you during Ramadan, please Contact Us and our team will be pleased to assist you.