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Friday, 1 April 2022

How to stay in shape during Ramadan

How to stay in shape during Ramadan: With the iftar gatherings, altered sleep schedules, and the allure of delicious desserts, staying healthy during Ramadan is difficult for most. But there is still hope. With just a few adjustments to your workout routine and some thought about the food you regularly turn to in the hazy hours between iftar and sohour, you’ll be able to make the most of the holy month without sacrificing your physical health.

For getting a good workout, timing is everything: Exercise can be tricky when you’re running on barely any fuel. That’s why for those who are fasting, it's crucial to focus on exactly when you plan to workout during the day— and how you’ll replenish your body — to get the most out of your exercise routine.

The main concern with high intensity physical activity while fasting is the risk of dehydration. Ideally you’ll want to have access to water during and after your workout routine, which makes exercising soon after the call to Maghrib prayer and right before dawn the safest slot. It's also fairly common for people to exercise in the hour preceding Iftar so that they are able to break fast immediately after wrapping up, but that final hour is also likely when your energy levels are at their lowest in the day. The “best” time to workout will vary from person to person, but the key here is staying hydrated.

Think about skipping the cardio: Training is the most effective when your body is sufficiently fuelled, and over-exerting yourself while fasting could force your body to eat away at muscle mass in search of some much-needed energy. If you can bear it, swapping out high intensity sessions for more frequent and less strenuous activities, like brisk walks, stretching at home, or a yoga practice, is one safe and healthy way to stay active during Ramadan.

Now is not the time to aim for a new PB: Staying in shape isn’t impossible over the course of the month, but it's best to remain realistic about your body’s ability to hit new personal records. Increasing muscle mass, for example, is difficult without regular food intake throughout the day. Instead, “aim to maintain your fitness levels rather than starting a new or intense exercise regime,” Dr. Sayyada Mawji tells Women’s Health. “Most importantly, remember to be sensible and listen to your body.”

Pay attention to the food you eat: It’s a common impulse to indulge in fatty and sugary deliciousness after a long day of fasting, but add in some foods that help maintain energy levels throughout the day. Fibrous and high protein items like wholegrain rice, beans, lentils, or sweet potatoes, which typically take longer to break down, are best for regulating energy over the course of your fast. Up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables between iftar and sohour to help fend off cravings for refined sugars and keep your diet balanced.

Looking for some more specific meal prep suggestions? Try out something simple for sohour like oatmeal with fruit and nuts, or a Persian-inspired banana and date smoothie for a filling and nutritious pre-dawn meal. This Mediterranean beet salad works equally well as a side dish during iftar or eaten on its own for sohour, as does this quinoa salad with mint and pomegranate seeds. If you’re looking for something a little more ambitious (and meaty) try out this recipe for zaatar and lime chicken or chicken shawarma salad. And of course, classic dishes like stuffed grape leaves and lentil soup pack a huge nutritional punch and are unlikely to stir much debate around the dinner table .

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