With the rise in popularity of exercise among housewives, some women are using Ramadan as a chance to start a new, healthier routine that they hope will last after the fasting month ends.
Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset during Ramadan, and due to the long hours of daylight, the fast lasts for 16 hours.
Salma Hadid, a mother of two, said this inspires her to seize the day by exercising early in the morning.
“Ramadan makes you want to be physically and spiritually healthier. This is one of the reasons I always consider Ramadan as a chance to start a better, well-organised way of life for my family and myself,” she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.
Mona Abdelrazeq, who recently got married, said she chose to continue exercising after her wedding to stay in shape and to lead a fit lifestyle.
“I always thought I would cancel my workouts when I got married, but now I like to maintain my daily training sessions to encourage my husband to do so and my children later on,” she said.
“The power of exercise to change one’s mood is unbelievable. It affects the psychological state of an individual — especially in Ramadan,” she added.
Dina Hasanat, 55, said exercising has become a trend among older women in recent years.
“Women nowadays care about their body shape, losing weight, and staying fit… This trend has become widespread,” she said, noting that many women start exercising in Ramadan.
“Ramadan helps the stomach rest and many women try to exercise during the month for the physical benefits it holds for the body,” the mother of three said.
Hasanat added that stay-at-home mothers are replacing old habits with heading to the gym or exercising at home.
“Many of my neighbours like to go for a walk or a jog in the afternoon, and before the iftar meal in Ramadan, since experts advise us to exercise before eating in this month,” she continued.
The iftar meal is eaten at sunset to break the daily fast.
Amani, a trainer at several gyms in Amman, said she has noticed an increase in the numbers of housewives and older women signing up for classes in recent years.
She added that more women are joining gyms and exercising because they have more free time and also because they are inspired by fitness stories on the Internet.
“They are being exposed to global success stories and those who want to lose weight are excited to start working out,” she told The Jordan Times.
The coach, who only gave her first name, added: “It would surprise you to know the number of older women who attend fitness and fat-burning classes. They are more aware of the benefits of exercise.”
Amani said sports have several benefits for older women, including decreasing the risk of getting osteoporosis, improving digestion, preventing muscle loss, enhancing one’s mood and improving hair and skin.
“For housewives, I always recommend that they start during Ramadan or a month before it. Instead of staying at home all day, a woman can head to the nearest gym to work out for an hour or so,” she noted.
The trainer said that since many desserts are served in Ramadan, women who indulge in sugary treats should add exercise to their daily routine to avoid gaining weight.
By Suzanna Goussous
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