Physical Activity

From Sedentary to Active Behavior during Ramadan

Dr. Izzeldin El Jack Ibrahim/ Head of Community Health Section
21 June, 2017

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Activities that do not increase energy expenditure above resting levels is called sedentary because they do not require any muscle movement. Such activities include sitting, lying down and sleeping. Sedentary behavior is usually associated with activities, such as watching TV, working on Computer, and chatting and reading.

Strong evidence suggests a growing concern over the risks of sedentary behavior. Although most researches have focused on the relationship between sedentary behavior, overweight and obesity, some researchers also suggest that sedentary behavior is independently associated with all-cause mortality, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and metabolic dysfunction.

Sedentary behaviors in adults are affected by age, gender, socio-economic conditions, occupation, weight status and some characteristics of the physical environment. These relationships are independent of the level of overall physical activity. For example, spending long hours of sedentary behavior may increase the risk of some health outcomes, even among individuals who are meet the recommended physical activity levels.

According to the national survey (2012), approximately two-thirds of adults in Qatar spend more than two hours per day watching TV and using the computer. These estimates highlight the increasing trends of sedentary behaviors which is clearly noticed during the Holy Month of Ramadan. The lifestyle of individuals changes completely from active to less active or sedentary which is quite different from the practices that prevailed in previous Islamic generations.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good”. This means an active, healthy and strong Muslim always performs better than a sedentary or less active one.

Therefore, let us seize the opportunity during this Holy Month of Ramadan and make it, in addition to the spiritual life and worship, a season for adopting a more active behavior instead of sedentary throughout the month!


The following simple tips can make a large difference:

1. Avoid prolonged sitting in front of screens

  • Home: Make sure to take a walking break every hour when watching television or using you mobile.
  • Work: Make sure to schedule walking breaks to walk away from your screen at regular intervals.

2. Stand up instead of sitting, whenever possible

  • Home: Try it for short periods while watching television, reading the Holy Quran, or talking on the phone.
  • Work: Try to stand in your office or meetings, or while on the phone.

3. Take few steps and walk

  • Home: Try to walk at home or to the mosque.
  • Work: Try to park your car away from your workplace and take more steps or walk over to colleagues instead of communicating with them via email or phone.

4. Plan for active living

  • Consider walking or attending exercise classes in the evening
  • Go for a walk with the family, regularly, at the nearest park

5. Set time limits for sedentary behavior

  • Limit watching television to only one hour in the evening
  • Prohibit yourself from reading emails or using the internet for a certain period of time during the day.

It would be great if all family members apply these rules and adopt a healthy lifestyle!



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