Fit In Ramadan.
On the day that I am writing this blog, it is precisely 90 days before Ramadan. Counting on for Ramadan, I like to highlight the importance of a fit body, preparing ourselves to welcome the blessed month. We have always heard the stories mainly from our Muslim sisters, not to exclude myself, about the struggle to remain awake, alert, and fit in Ramadan, sometimes with acute gastritis, especially in the first few days of the month.
Therefore I have done some reading and research about what we should be doing to stay fit, preparing for Ramadan and the months to come. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them. Be eager for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not be frustrated. If something befalls you, then do not say: If only I had done something else. Rather say: Allah has decreed what he wills. Verily, the phrase ‘if only’ opens the way for the work of Satan.” 
This hadith tick me inside. I have to be eager to prepare my body as soon as possible and be physically fit precisely to welcome Ramadan and my everyday life. I have to be the one that is more beloved to Allah, being an overall strong believer inclusive of my physical health. Here I will share a few points on what we should eagerly do to remain physically fit, preparing for Ramadan.
1. Moderate intensity walking for at least 150 minutes in a week
We all know the benefits of exercising for our health and to avoid lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. One of the great exercises to do is walking. Studies showed that it improves the heart’s ability to get oxygen to our muscles and how effectively our muscles use that oxygen. Walking has to be done, at least when we feel that our heart is working, but we can still converse, known as moderate-intensity walking. It will increase our aerobic fitness and, more importantly, carry out activities for longer with less fatigue. It also helps us maintain body weight, body flexibility, and balance. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 250 minutes or more exercise for an effective result.
The minimum that we can do is to walk for 30 minutes each day for five days. We can either space out the walking time to 10 minutes 3 times a day or for 30 minutes each time five times a week. InshaaAllah, after 90 days, we will find ourselves fit and can stay awake to do activities in Ramadan for a longer time.
2. 10 minutes of strength exercise each day
For better health and body fitness, a moderate-intensity exercise like what is mentioned above should be accompanied by a strength exercise. It is recommended that we do strength exercises 2 to 3 times a week, which involves our body’s major muscles. There are many free apps that we can download to guide us on how to do them. Ten minutes of strength exercise with at least 1 set (eight repetitions per set) of 6 strength exercises which involves all major muscle groups will do inshaa-Allah to increase our muscle bulk and strength for more substantial muscles, doing activities in Ramadan.
3. Eat in a small portion
An adult’s stomach is about the size of a fist, but it can expand as much as 40 times its original capacity to hold a big meal or large fluid intake. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “A man does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat enough to keep him alive. But if he must do that, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for his air.”  It is good to start now to reduce our food on our dinner plate.It is also an excellent way to train our stomach for fasting in the month of Ramadan, avoid acute gastritis.
4. Smart snack choices
I am a person who snacks a lot. I have a problem to remain alert if I am hungry. It is found that snacking is not all bad, but the choices for snacks matter.
In snacks, we need to be aware of the food we snack on and the snack timing and place. It requires a lot of discipline and self-reminder. We snack only when we get the hunger pang. We have to only snack on healthy food such as vegetables, nuts, and fruits, avoid fast food or sugary snack, snack in small portions and avoid sitting in front of the TV, laptop, or mobile phone while snacking. Later, we would realize that we do not need the snack time anyway. Drinking plain water would do when we feel the need to snack. InshaaAllah, it will help us to prepare ourselves from the thought of food and snacks during fasting in Ramadan.
Finally, with these four simple points, not to forget to make dua to Allah, asking for His help to make us persevere and discipline in doing the four mentioned tasks to prepare our body to be physically fit and healthy. Take these small steps, starts today to prepare for the blessed month of Ramadan, fully energetic and healthy to do the ibadah in the sacred month. Let’s start now, bismillah.
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Written by: Dr. Fadzidah Ariffin UmmuAbdullah (12th Jan 2021)