Exercising While Fasting

by Angela Yorke | July 23rd, 2012 | Exercises

The month of Ramadan can be a challenge. Muslims are obliged to fast and abstain from dawn until dusk, whatever the hours of daylight there are in a day. For those who have just made fitness a part of their lives, Ramadan can appear to be an insurmountable challenge in terms of exercising consistently and not losing the health benefits accrued earlier.

As those who fast may only eat before dawn and after dusk, an existing exercise routine has to be modified to fit around these times. This means getting out of bed up to 2 hours earlier (if you’re a slow riser) to work out in the morning, or breaking the fast with a light meal and then exercising. It can also mean exercising at a lower intensity, as the body lacks the energy to carry out higher intensity activity without suffering harm.

Attention should be paid to the duration spent working out during the fasting month. The fasting month is when the importance of quality over quantity becomes more obvious. The aim is to carry out a quality workout for about 45 minutes, so that you don’t spend more than an hour at the gym or exercise facility. This way, you would stave off any potential physical slumps while making the most of your time and replenishing the energy demands of a fast.

Abstaining from food can lead to the temptation to wolf down large quantities of high-fat food, as these are easy to prepare/obtain, and they ease your hunger faster, but they can be damaging in the long term; however, the meal consumed, whether you work out before or after a fast, should contain complex carbohydrates, proteins, and essential fats.

The fasting month is not a “free pass” to bypassing the gym or track circuit entirely. If anything, it’s an incentive to develop a more disciplined approach to exercise that will hopefully influence everything else that is done.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.