If you're fasting during Ramadan, it doesn't mean you have to lose out on your hill fitness. During the month of Ramadan people aren’t always aware of the steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health during the day. Amira Patel brings us her top tips for anyone fasting while still wanting to remain active.
Ramadan (fasting) is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is one of the most important months of the year for Muslims around the world, starting now and running until Tuesday 11th May. Most people aren’t aware of the steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health during the day while fasting - getting that fresh air out in the hills is still is one way to do this. Here are Amira’s best tips to stay active and healthy this Ramadan:
Have a month of mini adventures
Amira, who runs Muslim Women’s Hiking Group The Wanderlust Women, last year managed to fit in time to go on daily outdoor mini adventures before the fast opened:
“Last Ramadan I found going outside daily really refreshing and it gave me a boost of energy. I would walk at a slow pace or jog for around 30 mins, I would avoid inclines and stick to flatter routes. It’s very important to look after our bodies.
Choose local routes to you and make a list of your favourite spots, pairing up with a hiking buddy always helps. The Wanderlust Women will be holding walks during Ramadan, to help each other to stay motivated. "
Photo: Amira Patel
Nutrition is key
“Throughout the fasting days we tend to crave things and it’s essential we consume the correct nutrients during Ramadan to fuel our bodies and maintain our health,” says Amira. “At the time of Suhoor (the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting), try to eat food which will keep you energized throughout the day and plenty of fluids. Oats, high fibre cereals and yogurts are good to eat at Suhoor. When opening fast at Iftaar (the meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan after sunset), remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Eat foods that are low fat, fluid-rich foods and foods containing some natural sugars which means plenty of fruits.“
Runner and nutritionist Shoa says, “fasting promotes purification, forgiveness, self-discipline, charity, and gratitude. It helps balance your overall wellness therefore nutrition plays a vital part which many end up neglecting.”
Photo: Haroon Mota
Keep cardio low intensity during fasting
If you want to do some cardio during the day, a walk or light run just before Iftar is a good option to safely burn some calories.
It’s essential to start off with light physical activity every day, for example 10 to 15 minutes of low intensity exercises such as walking. Avoid high intensity exercises like sprinting or lifting heavy weights. You can still improve your stamina and fitness with regular walks and jogs. Walking is the easiest form of exercise, you're still keeping fit and you can walk at your own pace. Even if you want to continue to hill walk, choose lowland hikes and ensure you take lots of little breaks.
Photo: Haroon Mota
Experiment with exercising at different times
Mountain Runner Haroon Mota, who ran 161 miles during Ramadan last year says:
“It’s a good idea to choose a time in the day that suits you best, rather than just following what others do. In the UK, people run at all times of the day; early hours just before breakfast, before work, during their lunch break, just after work, pre-sunset, immediately after breaking the fast, or even at midnight after the night prayers. It’s OK to experiment with running at different times, as there are really no rules to running. Do what works for you.”
Wishing you a very happy Ramadan.
WATCH: The Wanderlust Women on BMC TV