KUALA LUMPUR – Fasting during Ramadan will definitely make one to easily feel lethargic, hungry and sleepy, but it is not an excuse to not exercise.
As such, the question of choosing food is very important to ensure the body gets all the necessary nutrients, thus helping to maintain fitness during the fasting period.
According to Professor Dr Suzana Shahar of the Nutrition and Dietetics Centre for Healthy Ageing and Wellness, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, having sahur (pre-dawn meal) is very important to provide energy during fasting and to keep the body energetic throughout the day.
She said taking ‘slow release carbohydrate’ food is encouraged as the sugar that is released turns into energy.
“We are encouraged to consume food with complex carbohydrate such as rice, bread or whole meal biscuits and oats because they take longer to digest, thus help to reduce hunger.
“It should also be followed by protein-based food that will help provide a longer feeling of fullness, as well as vegetables and fruits , for fiber to slow down digestion,” she told Bernama.
She said taking a balanced diet during sahur can make a person stay energetic for about 14 hours.
Apart from that, Suzana, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences UKM, said drinking a lot of water is also necessary as the body will lose fluid during the fasting period.
“One should drink a lot of water, of eight glasses a day during fasting and to avoid caffeinated drinks and food that is high in salt because it will speed up the process of losing fluid in the body,” she added.
Meanwhile, Fitness Trainer Mohd Arif Afifi Mohamad Sukri, 29, said fasting should not be used as an obstacle to do physical activities, like doing low intensity exercises such as brisk walking, jogging or going up and down stairs.
However, he said it should be done according to one’s ability to avoid unwanted incidents such as dehydration or fainting, apart from being able to maintain stamina and fitness.
“The best time to exercise is about 30 minutes to an hour before breaking the fast because fluid that is lost in the body can be replaced immediately after breaking the fast,” he added.
For popular singer Muhammad Alif Mohd Satar, 31, who is better known as Alif Satar, he does a lot of low -intensity exercises such as planks and push ups after Tarawih prayers to maintain his fitness, as well as to drink plenty of plain water to prevent dehydration.
“However, I stopped cardio training such as cycling and running for a while, because at this time we don’t eat enough so we don’t burn many calories,” he added.
Alif, who managed to finish the 2019 Langkawi Ironman Championship in 15 hours, also adopted a style of eating often and in small quantities after breaking fast.