The holy month of Ramadan is celebrated around the world by gathering with family and friends, and while much of that is centered around fasting and food, the Holy Month also provides a chance for people to be more conscious of their health – and it’s a good opportunity to find new ways to remain active. Musa Khalfan Yasin is an Emirati entrepreneur and athlete, champion of the 100 meter and 200 meter sprint events.
So take some tips from the UAE’s fastest man for staying active this Ramadan.
What is the biggest positive change any Ramadan has brought to your life?
Every year Ramadan teaches me a valuable lesson; the holy month brings a positive change in my life. As I’ve become older my strength of control for moments where I would have overreacted in a situation truly surprised me. Ramadan has helped and continues to help me develop a better attitude and understanding towards a variety of situations.
What’s your secret to staying motivated and consistent throughout?
“When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened.” These words are something I remind myself through the month of Ramadan, on the slightly more challenging to the wonderful. It’s one month out of 12 months where I have the chance to fully reset my mind. I also like to set myself a daily plan to help me achieve a personal goal or work goal, and strive to achieve this with my bitesize plan, the holy month of Ramadan helps me to focus on my goals with a clear mind.
What is your Ramadan routine?
My days are slower during Ramadan, and I strive for peaceful ones. I kick start my day much earlier than usual where I would wake up for Suhoor (the meal eaten before dawn), pray Fajir (performed just before sunrise) and read the Quran. I then get some rest before my working day starts. After work I plan to get home before Al Asr prayer (late afternoon), then head to the gym before Iftar. This is followed by Maghrib (performed just after sunset) and then carry out the Taraweeh prayer (only performed during Ramadan).
Exercise-wise, working out during Ramadan is so important for me. I do not push myself as hard as other months, however I do fit in cycling, running, and time in the gym – with cardio and weights. I listen to my body each day, so I do not have a set exercise schedule. In general, I am a very disciplined person, so it’s great to go with the flow and mix up my exercise options.
What is the best time of day to exercise during Ramadan?
I always make time for a good workout, and Ramadan is no exception. Fitting in an hour daily has a great impact on my mind, as well as my body. Yes, exercising while fasting can be a challenge, so it’s very important to do it safely by knowing your body and its capabilities.
A simple but top tip is choosing the right time of day for you to get your exercise in and add that to your new routine for the month. You are most likely to stick to the plan once you’ve worked out the time of day you have the most energy. I prefer to work out 60 minutes before iftar.
What are some common mistakes that people make?
The number one common mistake is eating excessively for iftar. I like to break my fast with dates and water [dates are nutrient powerhouses that are a good source of potassium and an excellent food to break your fast with], I then go to the masjid to pray, allowing my stomach to expand for the next meal. Once I’m back home, I start off light with soup before I jump to a heavier meal, such as chicken, rice and salad.
Musa’s top tips:
• Do not to re-create a whole new exercise plan. Be easy on yourself. It is not recommended to do intense cardio or heavy weight training whilst fasting. Pick a bunch of low cardio activities that you like such as cycling, gentle jogs and finding new walking routes – there are so many across the city.
• Do not forget to fit in those rest days. While keeping active during Ramadan is a great thing to do, don’t forget to give your body a rest. Be generous with your rest days, if your body needs it.
• Do not skip Suhoor. Some would rather sleep a little longer without having this important meal. Skipping Suhoor will not have a positive impact on your day, it’ll make you feel tired and hungry very early on in the day.
• Do not forget to stay hydrated between Iftar and Suhoor.
Hayley Alexander is a freelance writer based in Dubai who is passionate about reporting on all things arts & culture, wellness and travel across the wonderful emirates.
March 14, 2023 at 3:25 pm
Great article… for your last point about staying hydrated between iftar and suhoor, look for the three words on the bottled water label “natural mineral water” (required by local law to be labeled correctly). Try this and see if you notice any difference in your energy levels from before.
March 15, 2023 at 11:44 am
Masha Allah, Thanks for Ramadan cardio tips
Truly inspired by Fastest man in the UAE