Fasting during Ramadan not obstacle to exercise – Health experts


KUALA LUMPUR – Fasting during Ramadan should not be an obstacle for Muslims to exercise, in fact, such activities can make a person more active to perform ‘ibadah’ (religious rituals) in this holy month, according to a sports science expert from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

Department of Sports Studies’ head, Associate Prof Dr Tengku Fadilah Tengku Kamalden said by exercising during the fasting month, the body will be more alert when performing Tarawih prayers, apart from improved sleep.

“Exercising during Ramadan is good and not an obstacle. The function of exercise is so that we maintain our weight and stay fit. For example, by exercising in the evening, we can perform Tarawih easily in the evening,” she said when contacted.

Tengku Fadilah said those who wanted to exercise should be aware that the calories intake should be almost similar to the amount taken outside the Ramadan month because excessive intake of carbohydrates and sweet beverages will only make the body more lethargic.

“When exercising, a person will experience muscle stretching. Hence, a lot of protein intake is very helpful. Blood cells, muscles, and hormones are all built through proteins that will help the body function properly.

“To get enough protein sources for the whole day, you can take sahur (pre-dawn meal) with just two boiled eggs,” she said.

Meanwhile, International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) nutritionist Aimran Jamil, who is also a fitness coach, said the ideal time to exercise during the fasting month is 30 minutes or an hour before breaking fast.

Aimran, who exercised during the fasting month to prevent his fitness level from declining, said that among the exercises he did were cycling, running and bodyweight workouts.

“Intensity doesn’t need to be hardcore that you may end up extra tired or thirsty. Enough just sweating. For example, if running, set the time for 30 minutes, then increase it to 40 minutes.

“If you want to lose weight during this fasting month, there is no need to force yourself to exercise for fear of harming yourself.  It is enough with ‘calories deficit’ and to keep an eye on one’s diet, then the weight will be able to be reduced,” he said.