4 Ramadan-Friendly Workouts You Can Do While Fasting

by Ameera Hammouda

Working out during Ramadan can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. The right Ramadan workout plan will honor the iftar and suhoor schedules and won't interfere with your body's ability to maintain your hydration levels throughout the day.

Many athletes make the mistake of intensively exercising while fasting, several hours before iftar, leaving your body in a state of high stress, low blood sugar, and no fuel to replenish exercised muscles. While fasting exercise can be good (i.e. a workout before breakfast) it can have major implications when one goes several hours without eating-especially for women with existing hormonal imbalances.

Due to these findings, it is best to workout shortly after suhoor after your meal has been almost fully digested, or right before iftar. Below are some of the best ways to stay fit while fasting Ramadan.

1. Walking

No equipment, gym, or thought necessary. A solid 10,000 steps a day (just about 5 miles) can help keep you fit. Try to take a 30 minute consecutive walk for relaxation. You can even set intentions, make duaa, or listen to a religious podcast to double the reward. The rest of the steps can accumulate throughout regular daily activity.

2. Pilates

This low intensity workout focuses on flexibility (which improves hydration) and strengthening overlooked muscles. If you have access to a pilates reformer, that will be the most fun and effective workout. If not, shadow a YouTube class a few times a week to get in a workout that helps you stretch, tone, and relax.

3. Strength Training

Best done before iftar, strength training accelerates gains. It's important to check the duration of your entire session as lifting too much can make one lightheaded quickly, which be especially dangerous when dealing with heavy weights.

However, nourishing daily with hydration foods, like those mentioned in our Ramadan hydration guide, will ensure electrolyte balance stays in check. And a great pro of strength training is that it doesn't cause excessive water loss like a cardiovascular workout.

4. Vinyasa Yoga

This yoga style's central focus is connecting breath with movement. Every posture is followed by an exhale and each move flows into the next. Deep conscious breathing can help activate the vagus nerve-the longest cranial nerve connecting the brain-gut axis and extremely powerful in its ability to regulate fight or flight hormones. This unique functionality helps those living under chronic stress.

Getting fit while fasting

While fasting, the key is listening to your body and focusing on your spiritual needs first. A great workout plan could involve daily walks of varying distances based on your energy levels that day.

Make sure to also incorporate strength training 1-3 times a week. When you don't exercise your muscles, your body sees them as "fair game" and breaks them down for glycogen during a fasted state. Adding in strength training can counteract this habit of nature.