If you are planning to quit your exercise routine during Ramadan, think again. People are nervous to exercise during the month of Ramadan, but experts are of the opinion that exercise and fasting can go together if you follow certain guidelines.We bring you some tips on how to maintain your workout plans while you fast during the holy month.
Experts say that there is research showing that fasting for 30 consecutive days without exercise can result in a regression of strength and fitness.
Individuals who train a minimum of three days a week for 11 months, but avoid training during the month of Ramadan, often face a setback with regard to cardiovascular and resistance adaptations. It is ‘imperative’ that Muslims maintain their exercise routine during Ramadan. If you stop exercising for a month, it’s equal to losing four months of exercise. However, one of the tricks is to maintain your current programme and not intensify your exercise routine during Ramadan. Many Muslims find it difficult to exercise during Ramadan, but it’s important to note that this is also a month of patience, sacrifice and exercising during Ramadan is significant.
But, there are some exceptions to this, though, and if you suffer from any chronic diseases, injury or complication, you should continue to exercise with caution. In particular, people with type 1 diabetes should not exercise at all, as this can upset their glucose levels profoundly. Type 2 diabetics, however, can continue to exercise at a low-intensity level, but for a maximum of 30 minutes, focusing on aerobic and strength training. If you suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, you can also continue to exercise, but at low-intensity, or around 75% of your maximum heart rate. For example: a 60-year old woman’s maximum heart rate would be 160 beats per minute and 75% of 160 is 120 beats per minute. So, a 60-year old hypertensive woman should not exercise during Ramadan at a heart rate of more than 120 beats per minute. These maximum heart rates depend on age, gender and health risk factors.
If you’re recovering from an injury or any other health complications, you should exercise at low-intensity for a maximum of 30 minutes when fasting, as your body will be using more energy during the recovery phase of injury or pain. This is because not enough energy and glycogen stores are retained for more than 30 minutes when exercising. In addition, people with chronic diseases or complications often don’t take their medication while fasting, which makes it difficult to manage sugar and cholesterol levels and blood pressure during Ramadan.
The ideal time to train is 90 minutes before sunset (Iftar). After a moderate exercise session, you will not be able to adequately replenish the glycogen stores you burnt during exercise, thus resulting in symptoms like dizziness and nausea. This time is ideal because you’ll be breaking your fast soon afterwards and replacing the energy and glycogen you lost when exercising.
Here are some additional tips:
• Terminate exercise immediately when feeling dizzy or nauseous.
• Plan when to sleep and when to wake up.
• Consider naps and schedule rests as your body experiences more fatigue during Ramadan.
• Intermittent exercises after sunset and evening prayer is a good way to maintain physical activity and fitness.
• Endurance, plyometrics, speed and agility training should be avoided completely.
Finally, be sure to drink sufficient fluids to prevent a water deficit. It is important to drink as much as possible during Ramadan.