It's Ramadan. Here's How To Do Fitness While You're Fasting

Just because you're fasting this month, there's no need to abandon your fitness routine.
Don't abandon your gym routines during Ramadan.
Hiraman via Getty Images
Don't abandon your gym routines during Ramadan.

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Ramadan mubarak. The holy fasting month is here and Muslims around the world will begin abstaining from food from sunrise to sun set.

This lack of food and water means that we have to try and retain our energy so we don’t get tired, burned out and hungry.

This can easily means fitness agendas fall off during the month.

When you’re hungry, exercise can seem too laborious. And when you break your fast, you might be too full to move, which sadly happens to many during the iftar (breaking fast) meal.

A Sports Direct survey found that 80% of 18- to 35-year-old Muslims were concerned about exercising safely during Ramadan, while 29% said they felt there was not enough training information available to them for the month.

But there are still things you can do around the month to get yourself moving and get that all important exercise in while doing it safely and healthily.

1. Low intensity cardio is your friend

No one wants to go for a run when they’re fasting or when they’ve just feasted for iftar. And you don’t have to start doing jumping jacks to get your cardio in. A brisk walk will do just the trick.

During Ramadan, when Muslims devote their time to worshipping, you may be strapped for time. So while a long walk might be out of the question – you could try to opt for a 30 min walk, either after iftar or before suhoor (when you start your fast again at dusk).

If you’re going to a mosque, you might want to walk there or get off the bus early to make the rest of the journey. If it’s a nearby mosque, you might want to take a longer route. You could even make up laps around the home if you would prefer to not go outside.

2. Fit the gym around your schedule

Just because you’re fasting doesn’t mean your gym membership stops (unless your provider allows you the option to pause – do ask them as it’s a possibility).

You can still fit gym trips into your Ramadan schedule. Perhaps try eating a light protein meal when you break your fast and head to the gym. Or you could train before suhoor.

3. YouTube work outs really do work

Cast your minds to the early days of lockdown when Joe Wicks, Yoga with Adrienne and the like were your go-tos.

The good thing is, they’re still around and they offer exercises for short bursts of time and with varying intensities.

You could do a low intensity 15-minute HIIT session, a 10-minute ab regime, or even a five-minute movement from your chair.

4. Up your hydration during non-fasting hours

Your reduced intake of water can make exercise feel more strenuous, but you can still exercise safely even if you’re not drinking water, says Origym.

During the hours of iftar and suhoor, it’s key that you up your water consumption. Drinking water regularly during this period will help you feel more hydrated in your fasting hours.

You should also increase your intake of water-rich foods so you are obtaining hydration through your food, too. Oranges, grapes, cucumber and tomatoes are all high in water content and perfect for upping your water levels. You could also try yoghurts, oats and watermelon (a Ramadan staple).

5. Try strength training

The good thing about strength training is that it requires you to be static more often than not. So you won’t need to move around a lot as you do with cardio.

When your body goes for long periods of time without food, it can break down muscle weight for energy, says Origym. But strength training can also slow down the process of muscle loss while fasting.

Whichever time you decide to work out, weight training will help you build more muscle, feel stronger, and also win you personal kudos in knowing you made your body work hard.

Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.

HuffPost UK / Rebecca Zisser