KEEP YOUR FITNESS FOCUS THIS RAMADAN AND #ReachYourMax
The Challenges And Risks Of Working Out During Ramadan
Ramadan lasts for one month and the degeneration that can happen to the body in terms of fitness during one month of not working out is significant. Fitness benefits can be lost including a loss of cardiovascular fitness, significant weight gain and/or muscle loss.
As if it wasn’t hard enough to maintain a fitness regime at the best of times, during Ramadan you have to deal with the added challenge of fasting during the daylight hours. Fasting for Ramadan also requires that you consume no liquids during the day, and if not managed correctly this can make working out during the day dangerous!
The problem comes if you sweat a lot during your workout and cannot rehydrate by drinking liquids. You could become dehydrated and this could lead to light-headedness or even fainting. Don’t worry. With some careful planning you can actually use Ramadan to optimise your fitness! In this article we share some strategies for how to workout safely during Ramadan.
1. When To Workout During Ramadan
Many people choose to do their workout after iftar, while your body is fuelled and hydrated from your meal. Of course you will need to leave a long enough gap between eating and working out, at least one hour, to let your food digest. Many gyms keep later opening hours during Ramadan to accommodate this (often up to 3am). Check with your local gym to find out the opening times for Ramadan.
Another strategy can be to do your workout last thing in the evening, right before sunset, so that you can immediately rehydrate and eat afterwards with your iftar meal, although some people find that they do not have enough energy at this time of the day.
The best thing is to try it out and see what works best for you.
2. Adjusting Your Fitness Program For Ramadan
If you usually do a strenuous workout, and you normally like to work out in the mornings, you will need to change to an evening workout for Ramadan. Intense workouts can still be done after iftar. Although it may be challenging to make this adjustment to your schedule, it is necessary. If you sweat too much during a workout in the morning you will be unable to drink to rehydrate and therefor you will be dehydrated for the rest of the day. You risk becoming unwell.
However if you insist on a morning workout why not just go for a gentler option, like a walk outside. It can actually be a good thing for your body to have a change of pace and for your mind to have a change of scenery.
If you usually run in the mornings you can opt for a brisk walk, in this way maintaining most of the cardiovascular fitness you have built up, or at least lessening the negative impact on your fitness. Why not meet up with some friends and go for a walk together? Then you can always work out at a more intense pace after iftar.
3. Fitness Classes During Ramadan
If you attend a class such as Zumba or Aerobics during the day, then you will need to adjust your level to work a little less hard than normal, or schedule it for after iftar. Most gyms put on extra classes after iftar during Ramadan to accommodate this. To reduce the intensity of a daytime workout where you usually jump take the low impact option instead. Make your moves smaller. Talk to the instructor to let her know that you are fasting and ask for her advice on how to do the class safely.
For low impact classes such as Yoga and Pilates you should be fine during Ramadan, however avoid Bikram or ‘Hot Yoga’ due to the excess sweating as you cannot replace the liquid lost from your body.
4. Weight Training During Ramadan
You can stick to your regular weight-training regime during Ramadan, although as above we recommend that you do it after iftar rather than during the day.
Pro Tip: Try working out after Iftar when your body has been refuelled.
5. Ramadan Is The Perfect Time For A Change To Your Normal Workout
Our bodies get so used to exercising in a particular way when we are in a routine that we can end up losing many of the fitness benefits. The time of Ramadan is all about going inwards and practicing mindfulness. Why not swap your regular workout for something more peaceful such as a walk in nature, a gentle Yoga class or Tai Chi outside.
Shake things up a little - this could be just what your body and mind needs, and you can always pick up your old workout again when Ramadan finishes. You may even find that your body responds well to a change as you work new muscles and bring mindfulness to your workouts.
Enjoy this sacred time.
Author: Julie Ritchie
Author Bio: Julie is a Nutrition Souq Fitness Champion Editor. She is a qualified Personal Trainer who spent many years teaching Zumba, Fitness Pilates, Pole Fitness and offering weight loss coaching. She is a fan of the natural approach to fitness and enjoys exercising and eating for pleasure and health.
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