Exercising during Ramadan can be even more difficult than navigating the normal everyday challenges of trying to find the time, energy, and motivation to work out.
During the 30 full days of Ramadan, practicing Muslims will spend the daylight hours from sunup to sundown fasting (among other rituals and observances), which can make it especially difficult to find the energy to exercise during Ramadan.
So, how should you work out during Ramadan? What is the best time to work out during Ramadan? What is the best type of exercise to do during Ramadan or while fasting?
In this article, we will discuss how to work out during Ramadan, when to work out during Ramadan, and tips for working out during Ramadan.
We will cover the following:
- Can I Exercise During Ramadan?
- What Type of Exercise Should I Do During Ramadan?
- What Is the Best Time Of Day to Exercise During Ramadan?
- Tips for How to Work Out During Ramadan
Let’s dive in!
Can I Exercise During Ramadan?
As long as you are mindful of the type of exercise you do, the intensity and duration of your workouts, and what time of day you exercise during Ramadan, choosing to exercise during Ramadan is safe and falls under the umbrella of permitted activities while observing Ramadan.
However, because you will be fasting, there are certain precautions you will need to take while working out, namely in terms of the best time of day to exercise during Ramadan, the best type of exercise to do during Ramadan, and how much exercise you should do during Ramadan.
We will touch on each of these factors to help ensure that your Ramadan workout routine is as safe, effective, and comfortable as possible without significantly detracting from the fitness and strength progress you have made the rest of the year.
That said, there are certain circumstances where working out during Ramadan may be contraindicated or may require additional physician guidance and support.
You should speak with your healthcare provider about how to exercise during Ramadan if you are experiencing any of the following health conditions or symptoms:
- Heart disease
- Cancer or another chronic illness
- Acute illness
- Dizziness, vertigo, or lightheadedness
Additionally, if you have never exercised before, it is advisable that you speak with your doctor about whether it is safe to exercise during Ramadan or if you should wait until the observance of Ramadan is over before beginning your fitness journey.
What Type of Exercise Should I Do During Ramadan?
There aren’t necessarily specific exercises you should or should not do during Ramadan, at least in terms of religious practices.
However, while observing Ramadan, if you are going to be fasting all day, it generally makes sense to choose low- to moderate-intensity exercise rather than high-intensity workouts because your body will not have a ready source of fuel before, during, or after your Ramadan workouts.
To this end, when you are trying to choose the best workout to do during Ramadan, you should keep the duration of your workouts at or below 60 minutes unless you are a competitive endurance athlete, a fat-adapted athlete, or are used to training and doing exercise while intermittent fasting.
This is because higher-intensity workouts and long endurance workouts both require much more muscle glycogen, and the need for immediate post-workout fueling to help initiate the recovery process is essential.
If you are training for a marathon during Ramadan and do a long run of 20 miles or so but cannot eat until sundown, there will be hours of time before your muscles receive repetitive amino acids and glucose to help restore glycogen levels and repair damage to muscle fibers.
This can significantly delay recovery from your workout and can potentially increase the risk of injuries.
Therefore, when planning your Ramadan workout routine, instead of doing vigorous, high-intensity sessions, choose shorter, more moderate-intensity options.
For example, instead of performing a HIIT indoor cycling workout, a dynamic met con CrossFit workout, heavy resistance weightlifting workouts, long runs, or pace work on the bike or running, choose activities such as hiking, brisk walking, jogging, circuit training, yoga, Pilates, easier swimming and biking, etc.
What Is the Best Time Of Day to Exercise During Ramadan?
For most people observing Ramadan, the most difficult decision is deciding what is the best time to work out during Ramadan.
Because you will be fasting, there is not necessarily a clear best time of the day to exercise, but rather there are pros and cons to exercising at different parts of the day during Ramadan.
It is advisable to experiment and see what works best for you, bearing in mind that depending on the type of workout you have planned, there may be a better time of day than another for each specific type of exercise while fasting.
Here are some of the pros and cons that can help you decide what is the best time of day to exercise during Ramadan for you:
In the Morning After Sunrise (After Suhoor)
During Ramadan, most people fast every day from sun up until sundown.
The first portion of the day right after Suhoor tends to be what many people find to be the best time of day to exercise during Ramadan.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of exercising right after Suhoor:
Right after Suhoor, the pre-fast meal, your body will be relatively well-fueled, and you will have more energy to devote to exercising relative to other parts of the day during Ramadan.
The primary disadvantage of exercising after Suhoor is that you run the risk of dehydration and cannot properly refuel your body after your workout until sundown, when you break the fast with Iftar.
This can compromise your recovery and may lead to headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, low energy, muscle stiffness, and soreness after your Ramadan exercise sessions.
In the Evening Before Breaking the Fast (Before Iftar)
The other most common time of the day to exercise during Ramadan is right before you break the fast in the evening with Iftar.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of exercising during Ramadan just before sundown:
The primary benefit of exercising before Iftar is that you will be able to refuel and rehydrate your body right after your workout to aid recovery and rehydration.
You will not have to go through the entire day feeling hungry and lethargic after your workout while still having to stay in the fasted state. Instead, you’ll have plenty of time to refuel before the next day.
Exercising just before Iftar has essentially the opposite benefits and drawbacks of exercising right after Suhoor.
If your Ramadan exercise routine takes place in the evening before you break your fast, you will be exercising on an empty stomach with no pre-workout nutrition support. This can significantly compromise how your body feels and performs during your workout.
In the Evening After Breaking the Fast (After Iftar)
Many people who exercise during Ramadan find that the best time of day to exercise during Ramadan is in the evening after breaking fast (after Iftar).
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of working out after Iftar:
The benefit of exercising after Iftar is that this timing allows you to fuel and hydrate both before and after your workout, potentially supporting better performance.
This will help you feel energized and well-fed for the workout while also supporting optimal recovery with nutrients and fluids after your workout.
Although most people observing Ramadan find this to be the best time of day to work out, there is the potential that exercising too late into the evening after Iftar can impact your ability to fall asleep because exercise increases your body temperature.
On the other hand, if you exercise right after Iftar to give yourself ample time before bed, you might not be giving your body time to digest your breaking fast meal.
This can result in bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps or side stitches, diarrhea, or other symptoms of indigestion during your workouts because it takes time to digest your food, and exercise impedes this process.
Tips for How to Work Out During Ramadan
There are some definite challenges to exercising during Ramadan, namely in the fact that when you are fasting, it is difficult to muster the energy and resources for physical activity.
Here are some tips for how to exercise during Ramadan:
- Ensure to hydrate enough during your fueling hours; consider electrolytes as well.
- Focus on high-quality nutrients when you can eat.
- Listen to your body with your workouts; cut back or slow down if you’re not feeling well.
- Reduce the intensity and duration of your Ramadan exercise routine relative to the rest of the year.
- Ease back into more vigorous training after Ramadan.
For more tips about exercising while fasting, check out our guide here.