Maintaining your routine after Ramadan

With the holy month now over, it is time to reset and reassess our health

After a month of scaling back on food, sleep and workouts, it is time to gradually get back into the rhythm of daily life. Sleep pattern, hydration, nutrition and exercise are four key elements to slipping back into your routine.

The body needs to be slowly eased into the regular routine of life or else it can go into shock. Usually it takes about 10 days to get back into rhythm and it’s important to do it right in order not to negate the benefits of Ramadan.

A smooth transition to a regular lifestyle starts with getting your sleep routine, hydration and diet on track. Sleep is one of the most sensitive parameters affecting our metabolism and overall health. We have to get back to six to eight hours of quality sleep without disrupting our circadian rhythm. Several studies have shown that circadian rhythms control the activity of many genes associated with disease risk and liver function. A disturbed circadian rhythm over a long time can increase inflammation factors in the body, leading to a risk of heart disease and stroke even among the young people.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Summer being here, hydration plays a very important role in recovering our body’s chemistry. Water is very essential to combat the sudden changes in eating pattern, longer working hours and busy work life. Getting back to the gym or kick starting an active lifestyle can lead to muscle injuries and aches if hydration is not corrected. The right way to hydrate is to space out your water consumption throughout the day aiming towards drinking two to three litres per day.

Download apps that track your water and fluid intake with notifications, or mindfully drink 200-250 ml of water every two hours will help us easily stay hydrated throughout the day also meeting the requirements. Alternatively, drink 300-500 ml of water way on an empty stomach followed by a litre between 8am and noon and another litre between 3pm and 8pm.

Working out

During Ramadan, physical trainers always recommend to go in for a gym work out two hours after iftar. However, after Ramadan it is recommended one eases back into a morning exercise routine with regular walks and stretching an hour after the three major meals.

Below are tips on keeping a healthy routine after Ramadan:

How to handle suhour hunger pangs

Quick bites for the first three to five days after Eid:

1) Two to three tsp oatmeal cooked in 3/4th cup low-fat milk with two to three almonds or walnuts soaked overnight.

2) A small banana/pear.

3) Half a cup of low-fat yoghurt with two to three tsp of muesli or bran flakes and a few berries.

Fourth to seventh day after Eid:

1) Herbal tea with a date or unsalted whole wheat cracker/toasted wholemeal bread.

2) A cup of almond milk/soya milk.

3) Gradually resume to simple overnight soaked nuts three to four nos and get back to sleep.

Intermittent fasting and meal patterns

What you may have picked up easily during Ramadan can be continued in smaller windows of fasting hours as this could be a health panacea. Recent studies have shown that complementing intermittent fasting with adequate sleep increases lifespan, even when there is little or no overall decrease in calorie intake. It also improves gut health, combats stress and directly enhances our immune system.