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The Impact of Ramadan Observance upon Athletic Performance

Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada
PO Box 521, Brackendale, BC V0N 1H0, Canada
Nutrients 2012, 4(6), 491-505;
Received: 10 April 2012 / Revised: 18 May 2012 / Accepted: 30 May 2012 / Published: 7 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sports Nutrition)
Ramadan observance requires a total abstention from food and drink from sunrise to sunset for a period of one month. Such intermittent fasting has only minor effects upon the overall nutrition and physiological responses of the general sedentary population. Larger meals are consumed at night and in the early morning. Body mass usually remains unchanged, the total energy intake remains roughly constant, and there is little alteration in the relative consumption of protein, fats and carbohydrates. However, Ramadan observance may be of greater consequence for the training and performance of the competitive athlete, particularly when the festival is celebrated in the hotter part of the year and daylight hours are long, as is the case for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. The normal sleeping time then tends to be shortened, and blood sugar and tissue hydration decrease progressively throughout the hours of daylight. Some limitation of anaerobic effort, endurance performance and muscle strength might be anticipated from the decrease in muscle glycogen and body fluid reserves, and a reduced blood glucose may cause a depressed mood state, an increased perception of effort, and poorer team work. This review considers empirical data on the extent of such changes, and their likely effect upon anaerobic, aerobic and muscular performance, suggesting potential nutritional and behavioral tactics for minimizing such effects in the Muslim competitor. View Full-Text
Keywords: anaerobic capacity; anaerobic power; aerobic power; fatigue; muscular strength; perceived exertion; vigilance anaerobic capacity; anaerobic power; aerobic power; fatigue; muscular strength; perceived exertion; vigilance
MDPI and ACS Style

Shephard, R.J. The Impact of Ramadan Observance upon Athletic Performance. Nutrients 2012, 4, 491-505.

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