“Fasting is not just a physical discipline; it can be a spiritual feast.” ~ Jentezen Franklin. Fasting is an old, trusted way to allow our body to cleanse itself and dip into its resources for nourishment and energy. Probably that’s why we’ve grown up observing people of different religions around us fast for different reasons throughout the year. The nature of fasting may be diverse but the faith and spiritual connection with the universe during that time is truly special. Since childhood, I’ve been encouraged to fast according to my age and capability. However, I’ve been guilty of using it as an excuse to hog on dry fruits, sweets, fasting food, and other mouth-watering delicacies till a few years ago. When fitness became a lifestyle choice I consciously devised practical ways to stay fit and enjoy this experience too. After all, I don’t want my weighing machine to curse me!
Most of us stress more about missing meals and bother less to stay fit while fasting. My first Navratri fast had me looking cadaver-like by the end although I was on a nutritious diet of fruits and milk. Forget workout or garba, my energy levels dropped significantly after regular domestic chores. Certainly, weighing 70+ kgs meant that I had plenty of surplus reserve. Was I really physically weak or imagining it? The psychosomatic effect, after all. It’s advisable to follow a relaxed fitness routine for the duration of your fast. Don’t lose and don’t gain either. Win-win?
Choose the right calories
Most fasting foods are high in fats and carbohydrates, the idea being to consume them in limited quantities. However, the problem starts when their irresistible, luscious aroma beckons us lovingly and we end up overeating. To avoid falling for these natural human instincts and stay fit, promise yourself to make healthy eating choices. Milk, buttermilk, fresh fruits and juices, dates, homemade sugar-free laddoos, etc provide natural sugars that’ll help you sustain through the day. Treat yourself to something nice once in a while but don’t make it a habit.
Strength training without weights
I’m a big fan of strength training especially with weights since it gives toning with better and quicker results. Anyone who pulls weights though will know that it drains you out after every workout. Squats, lunges, crunches, mountain climbers, etc are great ways to stay fit even when you don’t pump metal. Put on some upbeat music, grab your workout buddy and try some fun couple workouts to enjoy yourself. If you must, keep it light and easy. You can get back to it post fasting.
Cardio can be entertaining too
Cardio is crucial for weight loss but that shouldn’t be your first concern while fasting. It uplifts our mood, benefits joint health, improves blood circulation, and helps us sleep better. Missing regular meals is bound to give you insomnia and cardio can be your much-needed friendly respite. Plug in your headphones and go for a walk, easy jog or cycling, dance away the blues or slay some jumping jacks, skipping, or high jumps. The best part is that you’ll stay fit and feel happy inside out!
Yoga to connect with your inner self
Yoga is a complete discipline and embodies every workout within itself. It both strains and heals, burns and cools, and stresses out and relaxes. Yoga helps improve our flexibility, mobility, and posture while reducing our anxiety levels and improving our sleep patterns. Performing Yoga is one of the most rewarding experiences since it makes us celebrate our body and its true potential. You not only stay fit but also realise the challenges you’re capable of taking on. It’s a beautiful spiritual journey.
Along with these, allow yourself rest days and ample time to meditate. Fasting is a wonderful way to demonstrate our faith in whichever God we believe in. Pray every day, be thankful for the health and love of our loved ones, and don’t forget to love yourself too. Spend some time in your own company and reestablish the bond with yourself. It’s worth it!
*Please note that the workouts you choose to perform depend upon the nature of your fast and your regular fitness routine. You’re advised to make corresponding choices accordingly.
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