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July 19, 2011

How to get more energy…

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Yes, I know. The title sounds like it belongs to a health blog, which is what this blog seems to be turning into.]

That’s the million (zillion?) dirham question, isn’t it?

This past week, I’ve been plotting how to get energy because, whilst I have time alhamdulillah, my engine seems to always be running on empty.

And it can’t be this way during Ramadan.

So, I asked myself “What increases me in energy?”

A few notes before I begin:

– Energy, like everything else, comes from Allah, the Most High. So if we want it, we need to ask for it.

Yes, we have to take the means (which is what this post is about) but we don’t rely on these means, rather we put our trust in Allah.

– I am not a health practitioner so please check everything I say with one of them.

– I know many people who read things and then say “Oh we can’t do that!”. If that’s the attitude that a person has to any suggestion that is presented to them, then it would be better for them not to waste their time reading those suggestions.

However, if you read, try to read with a positive attitude and don’t dismiss everything immediately. Think about it for a while first.

[And no, I’m not just referring to what you read on this blog. This is general advice for any article or book that you read or any lecture that you listen to.

– Like all of you, I’m a human and I make mistakes. Therefore, not everything mentioned in this blog might be correct. It’s up to you to verify everything that you read here (or anywhere else for that matter).

1) Ibaadah (worship) and seeking knowledge.

They increase one in energy, you ask?

Of course.

Haven’t you even felt re-energised after an Islamic lecture or after performing taraweeh prayer?

Fasting is an act that gives us great energy (and it does not make us weak, remember?).

However, the first few days are somewhat tiring which is why, I once again highly recommend that everyone starts fasting BEFORE Ramadan.

Someone might say: “Well, why does productivity go down during Ramadan then?”

Does it? In the Prophet’s (salallahu alaihi wasallam) time, it used to go up.

Even if it goes down in this time, it doesn’t mean that it is due to the fasting. The problem is with us, not with the fasting.

2) Exercise

You know, I love exercise, really I do. The only thing that I love more than exercise is ibaadah and seeking knowledge.

Now I don’t always do exercise because of various reasons (laziness, being busy, etc) but I still love it nonetheless.

However, most people hate exercise which is most unfortunate, as exercise can really give one an energy boost.

There were days when I felt very tired, only to feel refreshed after working out.

Now, someone might say “Hey, where’s the time to work out in Ramadan? And we’ll be fasting!”

Firstly, if you don’t have time, then make time. Simple.

Secondly, the people of the past fought wars during Ramadan, and we have difficulty walking from one room to another. Why is that?

Just because a person is fasting, it does not mean that they should be inactive. I can’t understand where this concept of “resting whilst fasting” came from, because it’s not there in the Quran or the Sunnah.

Thirdly, I’m not asking anyone to workout for a couple of hours. A 10 to 30 minute walk daily would be a good start. You could also add some other exercises and therefore be done with the whole thing in less than an hour.

Also, if you can’t do it daily, then try to do it as much as possible.

When can you work out in Ramadan?

Excellent question.

I realised that the best time for me was to do it after Asr. I’ve trying it this past week and even did it whilst I was fasting.

It was excellent. I felt so tired when Asr came but I was refreshed by the time I  broke my fast.

I think this would be good in Ramadan because 1) I can eat within an hour of exercising and 2) I’ll be refreshed and re-energised for taraweeh prayers.

“What about iftar preparations?” scream the women.

Sigh. You can cook before that, can’t you?

Also, if you exercise right after Asr, for less than an hour, you’ll have over an hour and a half for all the iftar prep.

Not into this idea? Fair enough. You could also consider:

a) Before suhoor – This is a really blessed time though and should be used for prayer but if you want to take a brisk 10 minute walk, it’s up to you.

b) After Fajr – Everyone feels fresh at this time.

c) After Maghrib –  The time isn’t a lot so a person would really have to rush.

d) Any other time – This is for people who are used to working out.

Now, someone might say: “Should we really be wasting Ramadan, the month of ibaadah, doing exercises?”

Well, if you understand the meaning of ibaadah, then you’ll realise that exercising can also become an ibaadah if a person does it with the proper intention.

3) Healthy food

“Healthy” being the operative word.

Eating burgers after taraweeh? No wonder we’re tired.

So, what should we eat?

a) Prophetic Food

This refers to all that stuff mentioned in the Sunnah. Ibn Al-Qayyim’s book contains a lot of information.

Amongst the foods and drinks that should be part of our menu: talbeenah (drink made of barley), dates, zam zam, black seeds and honey (pure, not that fake stuff from the supermarket). [All of these are mentioned in the book.]

Also, apart from the food, you might also want to try cupping. That would be very good for someone who suffers from bad blood circulation.

Note: A person doing it for the first time will feel tired for the first few days which is why I’d recommend you do it at least a week before Ramadan.

b) Fruits and vegetables

Yep.

c) Nuts

For those memorising the Quran: try almonds and walnuts. They’re supposed to be good for the memory.

d) Drink enough water

Feeling tired all the time? Perhaps it’s just dehydration.

If you follow the 8 glasses a day rule, you can try to drink 2 glasses during suhoor and 6 glasses between maghrib and the time that you go to sleep.

Coconut water is also good for dehydration.

e) Dairy

We need calcium, really we do. I’ve noticed it really helps fight fatigue (at least for me).

f) Vitamins and other food supplements.

I think that these really do help especially for those of us who don’t eat all types of food.

One supplement that does give energy is those ginseng tablets. You can feel the effects a few days after you start taking them. However, I noticed that the effect only lasts for about 3 weeks.

So, if you are really short of energy, try to take them in the second week of Ramadan so that they work for the last 10 days.

Flax seeds are another good supplement. They contain omega 3. As I’m not in the medical field, I’m afraid that I can’t explain more than that. All I know is that they give ENERGY.

g) Leave the useless food.

You know, burgers, hot dogs, etc.

Also, leave high glycemic index foods.

If you really can’t leave without the fast food, then at least try to stick to “decent” fast foods like Subway, pizzas, etc. 

Pizzas are decent, you ask? Well, not the Pizza Hut ones, but the ones from restaurants, depending on their topping, are relatively decent, especially if you take one with lots of vegetables.

You might also want to say bye to the caffeine. If you really need some, try to switch to green tea, which has many health benefits.

When should we eat all the above? We can split it between suhoor and iftar.

One final note: If you start doing all the above ASAP, remember that it will still take some time to show the results, perhaps 2-3 weeks, insha-Allah.

So, there was nothing groundbreaking in this post. I think most people know about these ways. We just need to apply it, that’s all.

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