Exercise tips for Ramadan


An expert at Mubadala Health’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) stresses the importance of keeping up with exercise during Ramadan  

Dr. Farhana Bin Lootah, an Internal Medical Consultant at ICLDC

According to Dr Farhana Bin Lootah, an internal medical consultant at Mubadala Health’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), it is important to incorporate regular exercise into your routine, even while fasting over Ramadan. She explains that exercise is a key contributor to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and can significantly help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

“As simple as it may sound, a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, greatly reduces the chance of developing diabetes. It is especially effective as part of a three-point plan to reduce risk, alongside a balanced diet and maintaining a normal body weight. For this reason, we urge people with diabetes to continue with moderate exercise during Ramadan, adjusting your routine as necessary for mealtimes, temperatures and COVID-19 precautions.

Dr Farhana says the benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Better blood glucose control
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Weight management
  • Improvement of body composition – less fat, increased lean muscle mass
  • Improvement of blood lipid values – lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, increased ‘good’ cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Stronger muscles and bones

She suggests that people take some moderate exercise just before they break their fast at iftar, and again just before going to bed, as well as right before suhoor. “A brisk, short walk of around 10 minutes or more would be ideal,” she says.

She adds that as the weather is warming up, outdoor exercise might not always be the best option, so people should try to incorporate indoor activities such as climbing the stairs, or a home workout suitable to their fitness level.

“While strenuous exercise should be avoided, you can exercise more vigorously from about two hours after iftar, as you will have more energy then and your body will be hydrated. It is important that you test your blood sugar levels before and after exercise, and to have a light snack such as a piece of fruit before exercise,” Dr Farhana says.

  • Mubadala Health facilities offer telehealth services across many specialties for the convenience and safety of elderly patients and those with chronic conditions.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Amana Healthcare, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), and National Reference Laboratory (NRL). In addition, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is an integral part of Mubadala Health. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.

Mubadala Health is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn with the handle: @mubadalahealth.

About Imperial College London Diabetes Centre:

Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), a Mubadala Health partner, is a state-of-the-art outpatient facility that specialises in diabetes treatment, research, training and public health awareness. In just over a decade, the Centre has gained international renown for its holistic approach to the treatment of diabetes and related complications that enables patients to receive the full spectrum of care they need in one place.

With more than 80 diabetes professionals and endocrinologists under one roof, ICLDC offers best-in-class medical attention from first diagnosis to disease management across 11 specialist practice areas including adult and paediatric endocrinology, treatment of metabolic and electrolyte disorders, pre- and post-bariatric surgery care, heart disease prevention, nutritional advice, diabetes education services, ophthalmology, nephrology and podiatry.

ICLDC was established in 2006 in Abu Dhabi by Mubadala in partnership with the UK’s Imperial College London to address the growing demand for diabetes care in the UAE. The centre now operates three branches across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, touching the lives of more than one million people through patient-centric programmes and public health initiatives. In 2007, ICLDC launched Diabetes. Knowledge. Action, now the longest running public health awareness campaign in the country. The initiative promotes an active lifestyle through an ongoing calendar of events for the whole community – Major activations include an annual walkathon that coincides with the World Diabetes Day in November.

ICLDC holds the Joint Commission International (JCI) Clinical Care Program Certification in Outpatient Diabetes Management and JCI Accreditation for Ambulatory Care.