How to fit exercise into your fasting schedule
Regular exercise and workouts during Ramadan take care of body, mind and soul
Published: Thu 9 Jun 2016, 9:22 PM
Last updated: Thu 9 Jun 2016, 11:24 PM
Exercise is increasingly being used as a part of psychologists' treatment plans for their patients. The benefits of exercise range from short-term to long-term, and from positive mood to improved physical health. Exercise is crucial in the healing process and clients are encouraged to incorporate exercise into their routine, whether it's daily or weekly - especially those with depression or anxiety.
"Exercising has a big impact on mental health. While you're exercising, you releasing endorphins - mood enhancers - and these essentially function as anti-depressants," explains Sabine Skaf, fellow psychologist and co-owner of Human Relations Institute & Clinics, based in Dubai.
The American Psychological Association reports that the results of a multitude of research studies have suggested exercise and activity helps coping with symptoms of mental illnesses, especially depression, and also result in reduced rates of relapse. Exercise is a great mood booster and decreases the incidence of mood disorders.
Boston University professor, Michael Otto, and Jasper Smits, co-director of the Anxiety Research and treatment Program at Southern Methodist University, have stated that regular exercise might help individuals who are prone to anxiety feel less panicky. Mary de Groot, a psychologist at Indiana University, explains that "biochemically, there are many things that can impact mood."
There are many theories that connect positive mental and physical well-being to exercise, since it is a mood booster. Exercise may provide individuals with a sense of accomplishment and usefulness, which can improve a person's outlook to life. Exercising releases serotonin in the brain, which may help in coping with clinical depression. Exercise can also help moderate the body's response to stress, making the latter have less of an impact on the individual. A consistent sleep schedule may also have a positive impact on the brain and thus improve mood and health.
The decision to exercise while fasting is a one of common sense, and it is important to consider how the body feels as it copes with being in a fasting state. If you feel lethargic or exhausted, whether mentally, physically, or both while you fast, it is a better idea not to engage in physical exercise. If you feel energetic in the fasting state, then you should be okay while exercising.
Exercising before Iftar
Health and fitness experts do not recommend exercising before ending the fast. It is beneficial to delay all intense and strenuous exercise until after Iftar. Exercising on an empty stomach can result in dizziness, low blood pressure, and hypoglycemia. It can also lead to muscle injuries and muscle shedding, as the body begins to burn muscle instead of fat on an empty stomach.
If the only time you are free to exercise is before breaking your fast, then a short walk is the most that you should do.
(Courtesy: Human Relations Institute & Clinics)
Gluten-intolerant health during Ramadan
* Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan can improve a person's health, but if a correct diet is not followed, you could be prone to digestive health problems.
* Common GI symptoms frequently encountered during the season are indigestion, bloating, heartburn and constipation. Symptoms are particularly increased after eating too much at Iftar or Suhoor meals.
* Incidences of acute gastritis, duodenitis, peptic ulcer are increased during prolonged fasting periods. Complications of peptic ulcer are frequently encountered, so persons with peptic ulcer are advised to continue medication during this season.
* Persons with pre-existing chronic liver diseases, IBD, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis and small bowel volvulus are advised to restrain from prolonged fasting.
* A diet that has less than the normal amount of food but is sufficiently balanced will keep a person healthy and active. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, nuts and pulses are preferred over refined sugars. Fatty, spicy foods and deep-fried foods should be taken in moderation to avoid gastritis and reflux esophagitis. Maintaining adequate hydration with liberal usage of fruits and vegetables and light exercise will help keep bowel movements regular.
- Dr Sreekantha Reddy, MedCare Hospitals