Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle During Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and it is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Muslims fast during the month and take it as a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement and increased devotion to God.

It’s the 6th day of Ramadan and though this year’s Ramadan came at a time of uncertainty, fear and sadness, we are still honouring the practices of the holy month.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from just before dawn to sunset and the start and end times vary depending on location. Unlike other fasts, you are permitted to eat in the morning before fajr prayer (sahūr) and you are expected to break your fast at sunset (iftar).

I always looked forward to the month of Ramadan because it served as a special bonding time for the family. We ate in the morning together and also broke our fasts together.  Now we are all grown up and we live in different parts of the world but the tradition remains the same.

I began fasting during the month of Ramadan when I was in SS1, and I was 13 at the time. I was in boarding school and my school was kind enough to make sahur meals for Muslims. However, most of the time I usually missed the bus and would have to eat cereal in the hostel if I woke up before dawn. When I happened to be at home during Ramadan, I was always happy.

You may be wondering why this post is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan. Well, it’s because some people use this time to eat all the food in the world forgetting the essence of the month. Most Muslims in Nigeria are accustomed to eating heavy meals in the morning that they believe would hold their stomach during the day. When it’s time to break their fasts, they start with an array of fruits, then move on to cereal or pudding, before finishing off with their main dinner.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan you can do the following;

1.) Eat Light Meals for Sahur

If you wake up for sahur and you are not hungry, drink a glass of water or a cup of tea. Avoid heavy meals and eat only light meals such as oatmeal, dates, smoothie, bread, and soups. If the sahur meal is too heavy, your body’s metabolic activity decreases, raising the possibility of weight gain. To maintain a healthy balance, a moderate meal is recommended before starting your fast.

2.) Exercise as Usual

Don’t give up exercising during the month of Ramadan. Instead, you can choose lighter exercises such as taking walks or yoga. The best time to exercise while fasting is right before you to start your day in the morning or an hour before it’s time to break your fast.

3.) Drink Plenty of Water between Iftar and Sahur

Water is the most important nutrient your body needs and because you are in a fasted state for 12 to 20 hours (depending on your location), the only time you have to drink water is from iftar to sahur. Try to drink up to two litres of water during this time to help you stay hydrated during the day.

4.) Don’t Overfeed During Iftar

Iftar is the time when you replenish energy levels after a whole day of fasting. It is not a time to stuff yourself with various treats to make up for the food you didn’t eat during the day.  Have a balanced diet and avoid fried foods as much as possible.

5.) Go to Bed Early

Getting enough rest is essential for good health. As we have to wake up earlier than we usually do and also engage in additional supplications and prayers during Ramadan, it’s best to go to bed early.

I hope these tips help you during this time.

Ramadan Mubarak.

Mariam Shittu

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