Exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity may assist you in losing weight, lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and strengthening your muscles and bones. However, there are times when you should exercise caution. Fasting is a practice that involves abstaining from food and drink for a set period of time. Many people fast for religious or health reasons all over the world and then there the question arises should you workout while fasting? If you’re one of those people who fast and have wondered if you can work out while fasting, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s some of their best advice.
Can you workout while fasting?
Many people have this question in their minds should you workout while fasting? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it depends on how you feel. It’s important to listen to your body. For the most part, it’s okay to work out if you’re fasting, especially if you’re already generally healthy.
People with coronary artery disease (a condition in which the arteries struggle to deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart), as well as those taking medication for hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes, are the main groups to be cautious. Someone with coronary artery disease should exercise with caution in general, and especially with excessive exertion.
Those who take blood pressure medications like beta-blockers may struggle to get their heart rate up, no matter how intensely they exercise. They may be more prone to feeling light-headed, especially if they’re not drinking enough water. If you have one of these conditions. You should consult your doctor about how to exercise safely while fasting, and whether it is safe to do so.
Furthermore, anyone fasting and planning to exercise should keep in mind that low-intensity and short-duration workouts are preferable to longer or high-intensity workouts. It is permissible to exercise in both hot and cold weather while fasting, but precautions should be taken to ensure safety. Before beginning the fast, make sure to properly fuel your body and limit your intensity.
Once the fast is over, Accetta advises eating a well-balanced diet.
He defines this as having enough calories to meet your needs as well as a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. “Your daily food intake should include complete proteins such as meat, eggs, and milk, or quinoa, chia seeds, and so if you follow a plant-based diet, as well as fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should account for 40 to 60 percent of your total calorie intake, protein for 20 to 30 percent, and healthy fats (such as avocado, fatty fish, and nuts) for the remaining 10 to 15 percent.
How to Manage the Risk of Dehydration?
Anyone who fasts should take precautions to avoid dehydration, but this is especially true for those who engage in strenuous workouts (e.g. HIIT).
“Because there is a shorter window to consume liquids [during Ramadan], it’s really important that people get in as much hydration as they can after breaking their fast and in the morning as they’re preparing their first meal of the day,” Dr. Yaqub says. “Eight glasses of water per day is the standard recommendation. You’re in good shape if you can get six to eight glasses or the equivalent.”
If you want to exercise while fasting, you should prioritize electrolyte consumption in addition to maintaining adequate fluid intake. According to the Cleveland Clinic, electrolytes are essential minerals — such as sodium, potassium, and calcium — that are necessary for many bodily functions, including maintaining the balance of fluids inside and outside of your cells. In other words, electrolytes ensure that enough H2O remains in your body and limit how much of it escapes, preventing dehydration.
So how do you know if you’ve dehydration? “An increase in your heart rate is one of the most common signs of dehydration,” says Dr. Yaqub. “Sometimes people will start feeling weak, dizzy, or physically sick, have a difficult time focusing, and notice their productivity goes down.
Tips for Working Out if you’re Fasting
Even with precautions, exercising while fasting can be dangerous. If you are taking medications, have one of the above-mentioned health conditions, or have another health issue that may interfere with your ability to safely exercise (or safely fast), consult your healthcare provider before working out and fasting at the same time.
1. Watch You Intensity
Stick to lower-intensity workouts while fasting to save energy for the rest of the day, says Accetta, especially if you’re exercising at the start or middle of your fast. Aim for an exertion level of no more than a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing rest and 10 representing maximum intensity. However, if the workout is brief, you can likely increase your intensity. If you only have 20 minutes to exercise, you can most likely do a higher-intensity workout and reap the same benefits as a longer, lower-intensity workout.
2. Keep it Short
Doing a low-intensity activity for an extended period of time can result in a higher-intensity workout. Going for a three-hour walk while fasting may not be a good idea, even if it is a low-intensity walk. If you normally exercise for 30 minutes or an hour at a time, stick to the shorter end of that time frame if you’re fasting.
3. Stay Hydrated
While fasting, drink plenty of water and check your urine to see how hydrated you are (or aren’t): “The darker your urine color, the more dehydrated you are,” Accetta says. He also suggests drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.
4. Exercises at the Beginning
If your schedule permits, try to work out near the start of your fast. Because you recently ate, your body still has plenty of nutrients stored to fuel the workout. This may make exercise more tolerable than attempting to exercise near the end of your fast when your body is depleted of nutrients.