Doha, 5 April 2022 - A team led by researchers from Aspetar revealed that Ramadan daily intermittent fasting reduces ‘objectively assessed habitual physical activity’ among adults.
Daily physical activity is reduced in individuals fasting due to the lifestyle change, according to a new study by Aspetar researchers.
The findings come from a new paper published on a cohort study among adults registered with the National Physical Activity Community programme in Qatar. Registered adults were invited to participate in this research and a total of 209 participants gave consent to complete a survey which provided access to valid data on physical activity.
Researchers extracted three months of daily step counts before, during, and after Ramadan for the past seven years (2013–2019) and compared fasting and non-fasting participants.
The results indicated that during Ramadan, the average steps per day decreased significantly by around 400 steps among participants who fasted and increased by nearly 500 steps for the non-fasting participants.
Immediately after Ramadan, the step count of the fasting individuals recovered to its normal levels. Among the non-fasting individuals, the step count increased at the onset of Ramadan and continued to remain stable by the second week of Ramadan; in the last week of Ramadan and during Eid holidays, step count began to decline in both groups.
Daily habitual physical activity was monitored through a pedometer connected to a website for collecting data. The study shows that the preferred time for physical activity during Ramadan for fasting participants is before sunset (33.8%) or evening (39.7%). Whereas, non-fasting participants preferred the early morning (34.5%).
Aspetar researcher and author of the study, AbdulAziz Farooq, said: “Fasting status significantly affected physical activity during Ramadan, most likely due to inability of persons to adapt to Ramadan schedule. Further, more than half of the fasting individuals were not aware that their physical activity was reduced during Ramadan.
“Fasting individuals can still continue to perform light forms of physical activity, one that does not lead to sweating or heavy breathing (such as walking) and heavy intensity activity after Iftar.
“Interventions should focus on creating awareness of the importance of maintenance of adequate physical activity for adults fasting during Ramadan.”
Ramadan fasting results in a shift of food and fluid intake from daylight to nighttime, which presents a major lifestyle change.