The full mind and body workout – courtesy of Ramadan! (Part 2)
Bismillah, was-salaatu was-salaamu ‘ala Muhummed (saw).
When you think about Ramadan and how it changes you in just one month, isn’t it amazing?
Over the course of the year, between one Ramadan and the next, we slowly lose the focus that was sharpened by this most holy of months. We begin to fall back into bad habits; we start missing our salaah; we abandon the Holy Qur’aan; we most definitely abandon the Masjid; we are less careful with our language and sometimes less worried by our behaviour.
And then, by the Grace of Allah (swt), Ramadan comes again and we have a 30-day total cleanse – by observing Ramadan correctly, we are spiritually enlightened, mentally motivated and physically refreshed, al-hamdu lillah, ready to face the challenge of the year ahead, Insha’Allah.
It seems quite obvious that as this is a time of renewal, we should specifically factor in a new start for our physical health. New beginnings are always best when they’re properly planned and Ramadan should be no exception. Even before Ramadan starts, we should be planning our days in it. We should be preparing for them by fasting on the recommended days leading up to Ramadan. We should be slowly increasing our commitment to worship. In all of this, we should remember to think of our physical health. If we do so properly, the benefit will stay with you for most of the year.
That all sounds good, I hear you saying, but how is it possible?
Here are my top tips for a) preparing for b) observing during and c) maintaining your change after Ramadan.
- Preparing for:
- Start getting into Ramadan ‘mode’ as early as possible
- Observe voluntary fasts (the process of fasting itself will get you into the habit of praying salaah and reading Qur’aan more anyway, Insha’Allah)
- Begin focussed exercise, perhaps 20 minutes a day, to become fitter – remember the days of Ramadan are going to be long, so you will need core strength and energy to offer Taraweeh and then be up for suhur and Fajr soon after
- Plan this exercise – go running, go on a treadmill, go cycling, talk a brisk walk – and if you do this as a family, it’ll be so peaceful and powerful and you’ll be doing D’awah to your neighbourhood!
- Observing during:
- Plan what you’re going to eat – and make it healthy! Ramadan is about giving up the fried and ‘rich’ stuff, not indulging in it as a delicacy.
- It is not in the spirit of Ramadan that women (and/or men) should be in the kitchen preparing ‘special’ meals – Ramadan is about controlling our desires (nafs)
- Eating little, nourishing food will help you concentrate in salaah better too!
- Exercise – instead of giving it up for Ramadan, consider this: lower calorie intake, more nourishing food, adding a reasonable amount of exercise will do what for your body and health?
- Maintaining after:
- Just as it seems exciting to continue the spiritual high by engaging in worship once Ramadan is over, do the same for your physical health
- If you started a new regime during Ramadan, continue it and ramp it up after – this will be easy because your mind will be stronger having gone through a month of rigorous self-discipline training
- Set yourself clear goals – how much do you want to weigh / how do you want to look / in how many minutes do you want to run 5 miles etc. Having clear, positive goals is the key requisite to success
- Finally, remember whatever you start in Ramadan to improve yourself, be it spiritual, mental or physical, is ibadah – so let it continue after and keep gaining Allah’s blessings, Insha’Allah!
Have an exerciseful Ramadan and remember me in your prayers.
Wal-hamdu lillah, was-salaatu was-salaamu ‘ala Muhummed (saw).
About the author
Abu Yusra’s mission in life is to live the words of the Hadith: “The best among you are those who bring benefit to others.” He has an outstanding record of doing this through his unique brand of ‘Success Coaching’ to help you get to where you want to be, regardless of where you are now.