Spiritually-speaking the holy month of Ramadan can be a great time to walk, but a few tips go a long way when fasting from dawn to dusk
Ramadan, one of the holiest Islamic months, sees Muslims fasting from dawn to dusk, abstaining from all food and drink (yes, even water!). The month is devoted to reflection, cultivating spiritual practices, building a relationship with God and coming together as a community.
Walking in Ramadan can be immensely joyful and rewarding, from going for a stroll with a friend before iftar (evening meal), to embarking on a reflective solo dawn wandering after suhoor (breakfast meal). Senses are often heightened, rendering the walker more mindful of the smells, sounds and sights that encompass a walk.
Here are some tips for walking while fasting:
A simple and important way to stay hydrated is drinking enough water throughout the evening. You can also mix it up by drinking smoothies, natural fruit juices and yogurt drinks which provide additional health benefits.
Plan your walks
If you’re embarking on a day or multi-day hike, plan your walks so you can make it to that hilltop or lakeside in time for sunset/iftar. Be sure to consider extra breaks and a slower pace of walking.
Listen to your body
Walking long or even short distances while fasting can be difficult at times. It’s important to listen to your body and not to push yourself too hard. If you find yourself needing to slow down or stop, do so!
When you’re fasting it’s easy to push on and not take the breaks you would if you were able to eat and drink. It’s important to take breaks – you can use these breaks to rest, reflect, watch the world or simply be still.
Get enough sleep!
It’s important to get enough sleep in order to function well, especially while fasting. This Ramadan (2022) is in May, so suhoor is at 4am and iftar is at 8pm, which can mean a long day awake. If you’re able to, take naps when you feel your energy levels are dipping.
Eat light and healthy morning meals
The suhoor (morning) meal should be light and healthy. It’s important to have a diet that’s rich in fibre, that will leave you feeling energised the whole day. Read up on Ramadan nutrition and what foods are best to eat at what time.
Choose well the time of day you walk
This year Ramadan falls in spring which makes it easy to walk any time of the day. In summer however it’s important to avoid walking long distances in the midday sun if you can, as this will increase your chances of suffering from dehydration.
Walking in Ramadan allows for opportunities to practise mindfulness, kindness, patience, and gratitude – practices intrinsic to fasting. Fasting allows you extra time, which means you can take longer to wander, explore, discover and connect.