Each year, many people aim to use the month of Ramadan for a variety of self-reforming habits, including spiritual, mental, and physical changes. Fasting clearly places an emphasis on spiritual reform by gaining mastery over natural appetites. But some people also see it as an opportunity to stop smoking, overeating, and starting exercise regimes.
Unfortunately, many Muslims abuse their bodies in the month of Ramadan by eating unhealthy foods and overeating and/or by abandoning all exercise due to fasting and time constraints. In addition to getting less sleep, this leads to weight gain, muscle loss, illness, and lack of energy.
Exercise in the month of Ramadan should include strength training to help minimize muscle loss due to fasting. This applies to men and women of all ages, as strength training helps maintain or improve bone density, increases metabolism, improves body shape and posture, and may reduce depression symptoms. Aerobic or cardio exercise is necessary for health of the circulatory system and burning excess calories.
The best time to do a weight-training workout is NOT while fasting. This can create way too much muscle breakdown and cause a significant rise in the catabolic hormone cortisol. Training while in a state of dehydration can decrease strength significantly. In fact, research indicates that dehydrating a muscle by as little as 3% can cause a 12% loss in strength. Training while you are fasting can actually be more detrimental than beneficial!
Author of this article: Masooma Beatty