Be Fit for Ramadan

By Ayesha Akhtar, MPH, CPT

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse183)

With Ramadan approaching in just a few weeks, many of you, like myself, are wondering how to maintain a level of fitness throughout the month of Ramadan, so as not to lose endurance and muscle tone (neither are completely true). Fear not! There are several habits you can adopt throughout your day, and can maybe even enhance the spiritual aspect of fasting by giving you a little extra energy here and there. I’ve share below some of my own lessons learned. Feel free to share your own!

For my readers who are not familiar with the logistics of Ramadan, allow me to share. Fasting for 30 days during the month of Ramadan (one month on the lunar calendar) is one of the five main pillars of Islam. This year, Ramadan begins at the end of June. Physically and mentally able Muslims (there are several exemptions) will fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, water, smoking, and sex during those times. At sunset, it is tradition to break fast with a date, which is essentially a superfood, water and the company of others. It is such a beautiful time of togetherness and camaraderie. Many faiths participate in fasting on some level. The first few days are tough, then your body gets into a groove, the last 10 days are hard, knowing the end is near. It is a time for physical cleansing, and spiritual resetting. Many will attend the Mosque for prayers more often than, others prefer to stay at home. We end the month of Ramadan with Eid ul Fitr, a celebration lasting three days, with gift giving galore!  Continue reading


We can’t win them all


Weird hand gesture … looks like I’m missing a finger??

On Labor day I ran the Oak Brook half marathon, a relatively newer race, sprawled all over my cute little, sleepy hometown of Oak Brook. There’s just one small catch: very hilly. The race had many hills, and 2 miles of the race were run in Fullersburg woods, a beautiful wooded forest preserve right in the heart of Oak Brook.  Of course living in Oak Brook should have clued me in to the hills – but I had no idea – and since I don’t train on any hills whatsoever in Chicago, I was doomed.  I look pretty happy here though, it’s only mile 3.5..

But as I ran down that hill, basically it was the start of essentially Murphy’s Law and anything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Continue reading