BODY AND SOUL


Ramadhan: Faith Meets Fitness

It is common misconception for many Muslims worldwide, especially the ladies that Ramadhan is the best month to lose their weight and inches. However, many of us do not eat right during Ramadhan and we end up gaining weight instead either due to overeating or eating the wrong food. Imagine not being able to fit into that new baju kebaya you just bought during the Raya sale. It would be a catastrophe! Understanding the true purpose of fasting is important to keep a balance between faith and fitness.

Fasting is an exercise of self-restraint. It is seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by resisting simple impulses such as morning coffee, smoking and midday snacking. Indeed, the essence of fasting during Ramadhan is spiritual. Nevertheless, this holy month also offers a number of benefits for both the mind and body.


However, easier said than done, a common problem that often arises among Muslims who fast is that they tend to over-indulge in food at iftaar or do not sleep well at night. Some have heavy meals before bed and some even choose to be inactive and skip all the physical activities. These are unhealthy practices and defeat the purpose of Ramadhan. Below are a few simple tips that you can follow to keep yourself fit throughout this holy month:


Never skip sahur
Waking up early in the morning to eat a meal for sahur takes a lot of effort. The least you could do during sahur is pop some dates for a quick source of energy as they are an excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium. Try to consume at least one date during sahur.

Sahur is vital to stock up the energy before you start the day without food and water. If you think that stuffing yourself at sahur will help you to not feel hungry during the day, think again! Instead, one should make their sahur meals moderate and rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre. Take fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain bread, high fibre cereals, oats, fruits and vegetables which will make us feel full longer and helps maintain stable blood glucose levels. Including high protein foods during sahur is another smart way to feel full longer as proteins take a longer time to digest. Don’t forget your two 8-ounces glasses of water to keep you hydrated!
Break your fast (iftaar) slowly and don't overindulge!
Care needs to be taken when breaking fast so that we do not overburden our digestive system. To give our body system the time to re-establish the production of our enzymes, introduce food slowly into your body. The protective mucus lining of the stomach may be temporarily diminished as well, thereby making the stomach walls more vulnerable to irritation until it returns to normal. Take food in small portions which are easily digestible so we do not overwork our digestive system. Coffee and spicy foods, should be avoided during iftaar.
Prepare your own food
By preparing your own food for sahur and iftaar, you are able to control the amount of salt, oil and whatnots in your cooking. Lack of food preparation will normally result in fast food or unhealthy meals. By cooking at home, you can choose healthier ingredients such as low-sodium salt and seasonings as well as low-fat coconut milk.

By cooking at home, you can control and opt for healthier ingredients such as low-sodium salt and seasonings as well as low-fat coconut milk. This is essential as developing healthy eating habits for your children starts from young and at home. Emphasis should also be done so that they pay attention to what they consume. This will go a long way in ensuring your child as a healthy lifestyle and diet in the future.
Stay hydrated
Here’s how to do it, drink two 8-ounce glasses of water at every sahur. Remember to only stick to water, no juices, sugary drinks, caffeine, carbonated and acidic drinks. Break your fast every night with one or two 8-ounce glasses and a few dates. Every time you go for your night time prayers (solat tarawih), bring a 12-ounce water bottle with you and keep water at your bedside table as you might need to hydrate yourself through the night.
Do some light exercise
It’s a dilemma faced by many Muslims every year, to exercise or not to exercise during the fasting month. The idea of going for a jog on an empty stomach and without water demotivates most of us to stop exercising completely during Ramadhan. This is absolutely wrong. You should still do some light exercises such as brisk walking before iftaar or once you’ve had iftaar you can go for more strenuous exercises such as football or basketball as long as you’ve already restored your water and glucose levels. Doing some light exercise when fasting is a good thing as it helps to keep the system working and blood circulating.



If you haven’t been keeping yourself fit in the previous years of Ramadhan, this coming Ramadhan, try to follow these tips as close as possible and you are good to go! Besides abstaining ourselves from food and drinks and bad behavior, we should continue to do good deeds and multiplying our worship and submission to Him. Do the right thing, keep fit and you’ll get the best of both worlds. Wishing all of you the best and happy fasting to all Muslims all around the world!
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