Physical Activity

Physical Activity Guidelines and Tips during Ramadan 

Author : ABDULLA SAEED AL-MOHANNADI
Health Promotion Researcher
Aspetar



June 30, 2014


The month of Ramadan incorporates the fasting of Muslims for approximately 12-16 hours of the day. No drink and food can be consumed during the daylight of this month, thus there has been a lot of concerns regarding the engagement of exercise and physical activity during Ramadan.  Research has shown that fasting for 30 consecutive days without any form of exercise or physical activity results in decrease of strength and fitness.  Therefore, Muslims should maintain their physical activities level during the month of fasting in comprehensive ideal way to avoid any health complications.   

 

For:

Healthy adult and older adults

 

Age:

18- 64 years old

 

Physical Activity guidelines during Ramadan for Healthy Individuals

Physical Activity should be undertaken in non-competitive settings in dark hours (post fasting). If the activity is in competitive settings, it should performed on non-consecutive days. Efforts to optimize sleep and essentially to stay hydrated before and after the activity are of paramount importance to avoid any possible deleterious effects of intense physical activity during Ramadan. Also, an individual can perform the activities in very early morning after the last meal of the post-fast (Suhor), but as this activity will not be followed by any food and liquid replenishment, it has to be light in intensity, and short in duration. Also avoid direct exposition to the sun and/or heat for this early day exercise.

During cold/temperate seasons:     

90 minutes before sunset would be good time to perform in non-competitive activities (e.g walking) because when breaking your fast you can supplement the energy lost when exercising.

During hot season:

However, when Ramadan is shifting to hot summer season, any pre-iftar (pre-fast-break) moderate or vigorous activities are not recommended in open-sky settings unless it is of short duration. If the individual cannot perform any form of activity at night, therefore it would be recommended that she/he should find an air conditioned space to practice before iftar.

 

Physical Activity Prescription during Ramadan for Healthy Individuals:

Maximum total Session duration: ~45 minutes

Physical Activity Type

Intensity

Duration

Warm-up

(Light) 50% of heart rate max

 

7-10 minutes

Stretching

(Light) and Stop stretching when muscles start to cause pain

5 minutes: ~20 seconds per limb/muscle group

1 – Cardiovascular Training

(Light) 50-70% of heart rate max

~20 minutes

2 - Strength training

 (Light) 50-60% of 1-Repetition Maximum (1-RM)

 

~20 min: 2 sets of 8-12 reps (1,5 to 2 min rest in-between sets)

Cool-down

 (Light) 40-50% of heart rate max

5 minutes

 

This table shows the structure of a proposed session with either a (1) cardiovascular training or (2) strength training as a core of the session. Warm-up, light stretching, and Cool-down being constant parts of any session.

Frequency: 3 to 6 days/week

Exp: 3 times a week: One can have Cardiovascular sessions on days 1 and 5 of the week with a Strength training session for day 3. Days 2, 4, 6, and 7 being resting days.

Exp: 5 times a week: One can have Cardiovascular sessions for days 1, 4, and 6 of the week, and Strength training for days 2 and 5. Resting for days 3 and 7.

 

General Tips

  • Don’t use Ramadan as an excuse to not perform the physical activity. Rather, try to take opportunity of Ramadan enjoyment of physical activity (e.g at least mall walking if not structured activity) to keep active throughout the year.
  • For sick persons, you must consult your physician before any physical activity. When engaged in the activity, if possible use a pedometer to count your passes and try to reach the goal of 10,000 steps a day as set by the “step into health” Aspire program.
  • Terminate any physical activity immediately if ever feeling dizzy or nauseous. For daylight activity, one should only break their fast if they really feel extremely weak and fatigued. In this case you should consult your Physician
  • Plan when to sleep and when to wake up and try to sleep in an appropriate environment: dark, cool, and quite.
  • Consider naps and schedule times to rest as your body might feel more fatigued during Ramadan. This will allow you to get in rested state for performing physical activity before you break your fast or after iftar.
  • Irregular non-competitive activities (e.g playing football, volleyball, tennis) after sunset and evening pray, is a good way to maintain physical activity and fitness in addition to general well-being.
  • Any intense sessions of these forms of exercise: Endurance, plyometric (power and explosive training), speed and agility training, should be avoided as these activities utilize more energy and can place one’s body in greater strain.
  • During post-fasting (dark hours) you should focus on the hydration and consuming sufficient fluids to prevent dehydration during exercise and the next fasting day. Hydrate a lot during the night (after sunset and evening prayer; keeping a water bottle when going for evening prayers). Nevertheless, the rule is to drink small amounts of liquids (preferably water), very often and avoid taking too much liquid at a time, because this will have negative impact on body hydration status.

 

For more information, please refer to the Qatar National Physcial Activity Guidelines - Aspetar

http://namat/Publications.aspx#

 


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Total Comments (1)

  • Good and simple information. It would be very helpful if a list of references for this article are available

    Posted by anonymous user on June 16, 2015 11:18 AM Report abuse