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For those who have been reluctant to exercise during Ramadan, the good news is that it's completely healthy to work out while you fast. Although it's best to keep in mind that Ramadan is not a time to push your limits or set personal records in exercising, both can go together without causing any harm to the body. Continuous exercise routines, as long as they’re not too physically grueling, is recommended.
Exercising during fasting essentially forces our body to shed fat, as our body's fat burning processes are controlled by sympathetic nervous system, which in turn is activated by exercise and lack of food. It also helps to keep control of weight and stay healthy, as well as helping to keep the system working and blood circulating.
What are the best times for exercise and how long should you do it?
It’s important to find out what works best for you. You may find that you perform better doing weight training on an empty stomach, or that you feel more energised doing cardio after a light iftar meal.
Most trainers suggests exercising after the Taraweeh prayers at the night. It is a time when adequate meals and water is consumed to help during workout. One can consume juices and other liquids during the workout too. Some exercises can also be done after breaking the fast or just before Suhoor.
What kind of exercises should be done?
High intensity exercises that throw the pulse rate to above 150 per minute should be avoided, particularly if you have yet to break the fast. Doing slow or moderate exercises are advised. Experts suggest brisk walk, slow jogging, cycling, cross training and light machine exercises at gym for the Ramadan.
Above all, eating a balanced diet and taking adequate amount of liquids are necessary to help maintain a healthy exercise routine during the month. Intake of carbohydrates is encouraged during suhoor which helps to stay energetic. Taking protein rich diet after breaking the fast helps the body to rejuvenate.
Do's and Dont's for exercising during Ramadan
1. Do keep workouts short, about 30 minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes.
2. Do light cardiovascular exercises –walking or cycling– to help burn calories and improve stamina, full body stretching to improve flexibility and detoxification, or mat exercises such as an abs workout and push-ups.
3. Do drink plenty of water between the hours of iftar and suhoor. Drink coconut water to increase the electrolytes in your body, which are essential for heart, nerve and muscle functions.
4. Do not do high intensity exercises like sprinting, stepper or heavy weight lifting (go for lighter than you would normally push) as it can cause joint or muscle injuries and also lead to complications such as low blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and dizziness.
5. Do not continue training if you feel weak, dizzy or sick. Although you are training, lowering your usual exercise intensity is essential to staying fit and healthy.
6. Do not eat lots of fried and fatty foods as it will counteract the good work you do at the gym.