Ramadan is a period of training that helps people become the best versions of themselves, improves their health, soul, character, and cultivate good habits.
It is important to carry forward the good habits and wean from the bad ones during rest of the year.
Deidre Groenewald is a passionate and energetic advocate for the betterment of people’s everyday lives. She is a dynamic and highly experienced health and wellness adviser at Zulal Wellness Resort.
The expert recently spoke to Gulf Times about how to stick to the good habits inculcated during Ramadan and take care of one’s wellness for the rest of the months.
l How can people make sure that once Ramadan is over, not to abandon all the good habits and qualities, beneficial for mind, body, and spirit, and to continue maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle?
Habits are conditioned responses formed through repetition, until actions and reactions that shape a habit become second nature.
Good habits emanate from resisting negative temptations.
The renowned philosopher, Aristotle said “You are what you repeatedly do”.
One should try to maintain positive habits and try to stick to them even after Ramadan as it is beneficial for maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle. Fasting controls desires and mindless eating which, helping us to avoid gaining unnecessary weight.
Keeping ourselves strong and focused trains us to get used to being organised, punctual and wean ourselves from bad habits.
l What advice can you provide to returning to regular eating and sleeping routines following the holy month. Is there any specific routine the Ramadan observers should follow?
Fasting is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our digestive system and help adjust our blood sugar and triglyceride levels. Even post-Ramadan, it is important to keep eating healthy, nutritious, balanced meals and take care of our bodies.
My advice in returning to regular eating would be to try and adopt ‘clean eating’ as a gentle transition to normal life. Evidence suggests that fasting can have positive effects on your health, including strengthening the digestive system, decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, and more importantly improving heart health.
Ramadan is seen as an opportunity to stop unhealthy eating habits that negatively affect our health and increase our well-being by introducing a clean eating routine.
As per the old saying that states ‘early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, we should always try to institute this in our lives to have a good sleeping pattern.
l What exercise routine do you recommend that people should follow to remain in shape post-Ramadan? What are some tips for people to keep a realistic healthy exercise routine on a regular basis?
Ramadan not only changes our diet, but also our metabolism: our body starts to acclimatise to the new fasting-bingeing regime, and the results might be deceiving, diverting us from the healthy body result we hope for.
Returning to a normal routine after Ramadan seems simple, however, for many it might be challenging to get back in shape. The transition can be assisted with a regular light exercise.
I would recommend a workout for about 30-45 minutes each morning including exercises such as a brisk walk, a light jog or even strength training. For those who are not accustomed to working out, it is better to engage in lighter physical activities — such as walking and stretching.
My advice would be to switch up the routine from the norm, not to feel disheartened about a noticeable decrease in physical performance and, more importantly, to make the workouts as fun and varied as possible.
l While reduced working hours and activities make it easier for families to reconnect during Ramadan, how can families make sure this balance is maintained throughout the year?
Ramadan is the most awaited month of the year for observing families. It is a month where the working hours are reduced, and more time can be spent with the family during Iftar and Suhoor.
Together with their parents, children are actively involved in the preparation of meals and in Ramadan prayers. Post-Ramadan, parents can make sure to have quality time with their children by continuing to enjoy meals together, set spiritual goals, learn together as a family, and constantly engage with children to strengthen family relationships.
Families can spend a more well-balanced time together on weekends and enjoy meals together like they did in Ramadan. Parents can also make physical activities fun and interesting, practising cycling, swimming, walking, and going to the gym with the kids to maintain a healthy and hearty family life.
Arts and crafts can be fun and therapeutic: spending at least 10 minutes on fast and easy crafts with children helps develop a strong bond.
l Which Ramadan-inspired habits would you advise to keep throughout the year?
Ramadan is all about reflection and is a great chance to wean yourself from unhealthy diet or bad habits. Whether it is a sugar addiction, smoking or too much coffee, take this opportunity to battle what you’ve been struggling with all year.
Ramadan introduces a ‘tapering method’, which sees many smokers naturally reduce the amount they smoke each day. With most smokers having lower level of nicotine in the blood after cutting back for Ramadan, it can mean lesser cravings in the period following, which makes it easier to fight temptations.
Fasting generally helps with impulse control and self-discipline, and helps to battling cravings. So, my advice would be to maintain self-discipline and willpower while taking good care of one’s health.
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