The Holy month of Ramadan has begun – it’s a month of reflection and regrouping, spent with family and friends. It can be quite a challenge in the hot summer climate of the GCC region, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 things to consider for the month of Ramadan.
You want to start your day the right way – with food that will provide a slow release of energy throughout the day – keeping you alert and on track during the fasting period. Foods rich in protein and healthy fats are great options as they tend to keep you satiated for longer. Make sure you skip the salty foods as they will only make you thirstier throughout the day.
Oats and yoghurt topped with fruits are a good suhour option – a spoonful of nut butter is also a strong source of healthy fat. For a more savoury option choose eggs, avocados or steamed vegetables – or a mixture of the lot. Check out our blog post about the healthy foods to keep you energised this Ramadan.
H2O is so important during Ramadan, particularly seeing as we’re not drinking it during the hottest part of the day. So we’ve got to play smart and consume water wisely during the evening. It’s about drinking plenty steadily – don’t flood the body with water at iftar time as you will feel bloated and uncomfortable. Look to consume about 500ml of water every 30-60 minutes after breaking the fast and continue until you go to sleep. This will keep the fluids regulating throughout the body – feeding those cells with the water they need to function to the best of their ability.
During Ramadan our natural energy levels will be significantly lower, but it is important to maintain a routine of moderate exercise to keep the body moving and the metabolism ticking over. You don’t have to go to an intensive CrossFit session or run a marathon, but moderate low-impact exercise will certainly benefit the body and ensure that you don’t get too sedentary during the course of the month. A 20-minute brisk walk before iftar is a good idea, and swimming will offer similar benefits. Yoga and Pilates are great for maintaining flexibility and core strength, as well as muscle toning. The best times to exercise during Ramadan are just before you break your fast – so that you don’t have too long to go without water, or just after iftar – break your fast with something light and eat your more substantial meal after you have completed your workout.
It’s time to break your fast and you’ve been waiting all day to eat and drink to your heart’s content – but that’s not the idea of Ramadan is it? It’s important not to over-indulge when you reach iftar time because this will only shock the body – causing overall discomfort, indigestion, disruption to blood sugar levels and potential weight gain. The stomach tends to shrink during the fasting period as you train the body to run on less fuel than it is used to so your food intake will have to adapt to this change.
Break your fast with a few dates, soup and salad – and of course water to quench your thirst. Take a break of at least 20 minutes to see how hungry you are before moving on to anything heavier – your body will surprise you, as you will become full very quickly. You have all evening to eat, so take in small amounts of food often to replenish your food stores and energy levels to get you set up again for the next day.
Ramadan is about reflection and giving up things that you may take for granted on a daily basis, so it’s important to be mindful during Ramadan – to take your time with things, to stop and think before you do things. When exercising, rather than rushing through a workout as you may normally do during a busy working day, take the time to perfect your movements – get it right and target the correct muscles, with focus and precision and feel your body improve in strength and agility over time. Similarly when you eat, savour the food and really think about what you are eating, how it tastes – rather than rushing through your meal and moving on the next course.
Follow the Sun & Sand Sports blog during the month of Ramadan, as we cover fitness tips, Ramadan recipes and a variety of curated sports content to keep you fit and healthy over the month. Sign up in the box below and we will send you regular updates straight to your inbox.