Is it safe to work out while fasting?
It is crucial to note that the importance of daily exercise cannot be overstated. Engaging in physical activities on a regular basis not only helps prevent various diseases, both physical and mental, but also aids in maintaining a healthy weight. However, when it comes to fasting and exercise, there can be confusion on whether or not it is safe to continue working out. Mukul Nagpaul, founder of Pmftraining and Fit India Movement Ambassador, clears up any confusion by providing guidelines on the dos and don’ts of working out while fasting.
According to Nagpaul, for those who are healthy, exercising during fasting is generally safe. In fact, research suggests that working out while fasting can even increase human growth hormone, which plays a key role in cell repair, boosting metabolism, and increasing muscle growth and exercise performance.
When working out while fasting, it is recommended to stick to low or moderate-intensity exercises as they utilize stored body fat for energy and can be sustained for longer periods of time, resulting in accelerated fat loss. High-intensity exercises, however, should be avoided as they require more carbohydrates and during fasting, the body may not have enough carbs to fuel the workout, leading to fatigue and even fainting if pushed beyond one’s capability.
Who should be careful?
Individuals with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and those taking medication for hypertension should exercise caution. According to Nagpaul, people with coronary artery disease are at a higher risk of cardiac events during physical activity and fasting due to a lack of energy storage. Therefore, they should be mindful of the intensity of their workouts.
Similarly, diabetics on medication should be cautious of their blood sugar levels dropping too low while exercising during fasting as it can be dangerous. Additionally, those taking medication for hypertension may have difficulty raising their heart rate during intense exercises while fasting, making it difficult for them to gauge if their workout intensity is too high and potentially causing harm to themselves.
According to the expert, when working out during fasting, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:
• Keep the intensity low, so you can comfortably hold a conversation during the workout.
• Aim for a duration of 40-60 minutes, especially if it’s your first time trying this. Experienced individuals may be able to go beyond 60 minutes.
• Stay hydrated throughout the workout to prevent cramping and weakness caused by loss of salts.
• Schedule your workout at the beginning of your fast, when your body still has stored energy. Working out at the end of a fast can cause more harm than good, as your body has already lost essential nutrients.
• Pay attention to your body and stop the workout if you feel tired, get a headache, or have low energy.