During Ramadan, our fitness goals may not be a priority, but it is something that we should continue thinking about. If you want to maintain muscle mass, avoid exercising during your fast – exercise after futoor and before suhoor. If you want to lose fat, then exercise one hour before you break your fast. Towards the end of your fast, the body will be using fat stores as energy, and this is the optimal time to exercise to burn fat. Furthermore, as you will break your fast immediately after exercise, muscle loss is minimized.
While exercise is important, I suggest reducing the amount of exercise you do during fasting hours. Exercise causes you to sweat, and for optimum results, it is necessary to replenish your body in the one hour after you’ve exercised. (This depends on your fitness goals too, but the one hour window to replenish is something that most trainers agree on.) For this reason, exercising (at most) one hour before futoor is the best. This way, you still maintain your fitness goals and nourish your body.
If you know you are going to or plan to exercise before Iftar, make sure you drink more water before you begin the fast.
SUITABLE EXERCISES BEFORE FUTOOR
- Light housework
- Yoga – Restorative and Hatha yoga are the best for before futoor.
- Tai Chi
- Light cardio
After futoor, you can exercise normally. Heavy cardio exercises should usually be done after futoor, and this includes HIIT, Aerobics, Zumba and Cardio Plyometric.
Wait at least 90 minutes after your meal to begin your exercise.
Don’t forget that prayer is a form of exercise. During Ramadan, we have the Taraweeh prayer, which requires standing for long periods of time. The prayer uses our whole body, from our fingertips to toes. Furthermore, it encourages us to reach into the deeper realms of our spirituality. A healthy spiritual side will have greater impact in improving your physical body. I find people today are very disconnected from their body and mind. Remember, the mind controls the body. A defeated mind only makes the body susceptible to more diseases.