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Walking gains pace during Ramadan

8 May 2021 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Now in the last week of the holy month, walkers and joggers trying to stay fit during Ramadan can be seen even in soaring temperatures. Experts encourage exercise but caution about the effect of working out on their bodies having had no food and water during the day.

Earlier during Ramadan, I used to walk after Taraweeh prayers but with the limited time this year during the evening owing to the COVID-19 restrictions, I opt to walk an hour before iftar. Walking in Ramadan is good for those who do not want to let their fitness slide during the holy month as heavy exercise cannot be done easily.

Even though walking while fasting is a great experience, it requires courage. I have come to notice that walking before iftar minimises appetite but we need to drink lots of water after a walk to make up for lost fluids.

A nutritionist told me that having more food and sugars when exercise – physical activity in general – is minimal leads to gaining weight by the end of the month. 

“Exercise can be in different forms and walking is ideal during Ramadan. However, people shouldn’t stop exercising after Ramadan,” she cautioned. 

She was of the view that you can go for a walk before iftar or for more strenuous exercise after it. However, you need to be careful about the kind and time of exercise. “Exercising without having food or liquids for a long period of time is not ideal. We need to know our body before engaging in any form of exercise,” the nutritionist said. 

In order to encourage healthy living and walking in proper places, Muscat Municipality has intensified efforts to improve the quality of its services by providing and expanding footpaths in residential neighbourhoods. 

In a discussion, a Muscat Municipality official told me it has been promoting walking and laying out paths for walkers and joggers in the city. “Parks and gardens also offer nice walking environment but due to the ongoing pandemic, these facilities are currently closed. However, there are walkways in several neighbourhoods across the city that can be used to exercise.” 

Considering the many benefits of walking  – among others, it refreshes the memory and stimulates circulation – many walking paths have also been laid out along beaches in Muscat. Parks which have good walking and exercising facilities include Qurm Park, Riyam Park, Amerat Park and Sarooj; these locations saw an increasing number of visitors in the months prior to Ramadan. But for now, let’s stick to our neighbourhoods to stay fit.

According to health experts, as simple as it may sound, a walk of 30 minutes a day five times a week, greatly reduces the risk of many health conditions. A combination of regular exercise, balanced diet and maintaining normal body weight are effective in minimising health risks. So walking makes absolute sense to stay healthy. 

And if you want to do some cardio during the day, a walk or light run is just fine. But it’s essential to start off with light physical activity every day such as walking. Avoid high intensity exercises like sprinting or lifting heavy weights in Ramadan.

I can assure you that walking is the easiest form of exercise. You can walk at your own pace but the result is the same. But whether you walk up a hill, a flat track, slow or fast, ensure you are hydrated and take rest.

 

Till next time, stay fit!

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