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Staying Healthy & Fit During Periods of Fasting



From the American Council on Exercise:


Ramadan began on March 10 and lasts for 30 days. It is a time for Muslims to focus on fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Observing Ramadan involves fasting from dawn until sunset.  

Of course, Ramadan is not the only religion-based fasting period. Many Christians fast during Lent, particularly on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, while people of Jewish faith do so on Yom Kippur and other holidays. Many other faiths, including Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism, also fast as part of their religious observances.  


Ramadan is unique because of its duration. Those 30 days of abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours can impact your energy levels and may require modifications to your approach to nutrition, hydration and physical activity. Here are some tips to help you stay staying active during this period:  

  • Timing is key. Consider scheduling workouts when your energy levels are likely to be at their highest. This could be right after the evening meal when the fast is broken so you can fuel your body with nutrients before engaging in physical activity, or before the pre-dawn meal so you can replenish and hydrate immediately afterward. 

  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased performance. Be sure to drink plenty of water between sunset and dawn to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeinated drinks, as they can lead to increased urination and further dehydration. In addition, try to consume water-rich fruits and vegetables, like watermelon, apples, cucumbers, and tomatoeswhile avoiding high-sugar foods that can impair fluid absorption in the gut. 

  • Modify exercise intensity as needed. High-intensity workouts might be more challenging while fasting. Consider reducing the intensity of your workouts or opting for gentler forms of activity like walking, stretching, yoga or light resistance training if you are feeling fatigued from your usual workouts. 

  • Listen to your body. Pay close attention to how your body feels. If you're feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or unusually fatigued, stop exercising and rest. Remember, your health and safety should always come first. During a fast is not the time to push yourself to complete challenging workouts. 

  • Nutrition is crucial. Focus on nutrient-dense foods during to provide sustained energy. Include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, along with vitamins and minerals, to support your ability to perform physical activity.  

  • Plan and prioritize. Plan your workouts for the week, considering your energy levels and commitments. Shorter, more frequent workouts may be more manageable than longer, intense sessions. 

  • Incorporate variety. Keep your exercise routine interesting by incorporating different types of activities. This could include a mix of cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises and relaxation techniques like meditation to support overall well-being. 

  • Rest and recover. Ensure that you're getting enough sleep and allowing your body sufficient time to recover between workouts. The physical and mental demands of fasting, coupled with changes in sleep patterns, can lead to increased fatigue. 

  • Consult a professional. If you have any health conditions or concerns about exercising while fasting, it's wise to consult a healthcare professional, registered dietitian or other expert experienced with fasting. 

  • Set realistic goals. Understand that your performance might not be at its peak during Ramadan or other prolonged fasts. Set realistic fitness goals and be kind to yourself by acknowledging the effort it takes to stay active during this period. 


Your focus during Ramadan should not be on making substantial health or fitness gains. Instead, this should be a month of maintenance, during which you perform a safe exercise routine and stay mindful of proper nutrition and hydration. The key is to maintain activity levels in a way that respects the body's needs and the spiritual significance of Ramadan. 

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