Exercise during Ramadan
Supporting your fitness journey
Ramadan is a religious observation for Muslims around the world. As well as abstaining from food and drink for a large portion of each day, it's also a time of reflection, prayer, and self-improvement. When it comes to fitness, those who take part in Ramadan don't have to completely write off their usual routine, but a few tweaks should be made to stay healthy and keep on track.
Read on for our helpful tips and tricks when it comes to healthily navigating your workouts and nutrition during Ramadan.
Can I still exercise during Ramadan?
Absolutely yes! It is important for everyone to engage in fitness and during Ramadan in particular, it can provide you with better sleep and more energy in the day. Train smarter, not harder!
What are the best times for exercise during Ramadan?
It is recommended to engage in exercise before Suhur (pre-dawn/sunrise) and after Iftar (post-sunset). More specifically, after the Taraweeh prayers at night, when adequate water and meals have been consumed to help during your workout. We recommend planning your workouts ahead of time so that you can prepare.
What kind of exercise should be done?
There's no one size fits all approach, but slow or moderate exercises such as brisk walks, slow jogging, cycling, cross training, or light machine exercises at the gym are great options. High-intensity exercises should be avoided, particularly if you are yet to break your fast. If you feel weak, dizzy, or sick then do not continue training.
The key is to listen to your body and be sure not to overload your workouts. Doing any exercise at all is good; drop resistance and add more weight if needed.
Fuel your body.
Nourishing the body during Ramadan through healthy food choices and hydration is very important.
Carbohydrates will provide the body with more energy whilst protein will help the body to rejuvenate. Adding healthy foods like fruit and veg is also a great idea for your gut health.
Hydrating foods such as berries, citrus, cucumber, and celery are recommended, as well as not eating too much too quickly when opening fast. On the flip side, it is advised to avoid processed foods and reduce caffeine intake.
Drinking enough water is also crucial during Ramadan, where water consumption is inevitably low. Water delivers oxygen and nutrients around the body which provides us with energy. Remember to keep as hydrated as possible during every opportunity you get to refuel the body. You can read more about the importance of hydration here.
Drop the intensity.
Staying on top of your usual routine during Ramadan is usually not advised, but this can leave many wondering how to get the activity in.
Your answer: increasing your NEAT.
As we aren’t able to adequately fuel the body during the day, increasing low intensity activity or even better – non-activity – is essential.
Non-activity exercise thermogenesis is, in short, the activity that we do just from going about our day. Some good ways to increase it during Ramadan:
- Add stretching routines just before Fajr and Isha prayer.
- Increase daily steps through light walks.
- Take the stairs!
As well as dropping workout intensity, it is just as crucial to get plenty of rest through good quality sleep. Resetting you internal clock and optimising rest through good sleep hygiene will maximise your workouts.
Ultimately the best piece of advice during Ramadan is embracing the need to be flexible.
As well as providing a time to bring Muslims closer to Allah, it allows us to come closer to ourselves. Listening to your body and its needs naturally heightens during this time and should be used to dictate how you navigate your health journey.
If the time and type of workout you have chosen isn’t right for you, switch it up until it’s right. If it’s too intense, lower the pressure. Some people might find it easier to work out first thing after a good night’s rest, others may prefer working out in the evening to help them to unwind.
Whatever time suits you, we have a range of low-impact workout classes, swimming sessions and gym equipment for you to enjoy at our centres and via our new app.
The bottom line is to not push yourself. Try to focus on the following: creating a safe and sustainable exercise routine and consuming nutrient dense and hydrating foods.