Exercising during Ramadan? 4 healthy ways to keep fit while fasting

Vahdaneh Vahid
Vahdaneh Vahid - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Here are tips to keep you on track with your health and fitness goals during the holy month of Ramadan.

Exercising while fasting can be counter-productive, causing stress hormones to rise, which can alter your mood, lower energy levels and slow your metabolism in the long run. It is important to replenish your body with essential fuel before and after you exercise, so try to work out after breaking your fast. That way, you will maintain a healthy metabolism without the body burning away muscle for energy.

Reduce your regular workout time and intensity to no more than 45 minutes, and place more emphasis on warm-ups and cool-downs. If you are weight-training, reduce the number of repetitions you perform and spend longer periods resting between sets.

Many of us actually gain weight during Ramadan, as our evenings are spent over-indulging, trying to make up for what was lacking during the day. Eating a large meal at once can overload the digestive system, causing you to feel tired and simulating a blood-sugar drop. This can contribute to slowing down your metabolism and gaining weight.

Eating smaller meals often will support your metabolism by keeping blood-sugar levels steady. Eat handful-sized meals every two to three hours - this will you allow to digest each one better. It will also give you the opportunity to be active.

Fasting can become a tough mental challenge during the summer, as daylight lasts much longer and you have less time to eat, so if you stay indoors it can lead to negative thinking.

When we go for a walk, the heart beats faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs, including the brain. This balanced activity can be done while fasting because we do not have to devote much conscious effort to walking. Our attention is free to focus on our surroundings, which can distract us from negative thinking.

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