Excerpted from Health Concerns for Believers by Shahid Athar, M.D.
4. Additional prayers are prescribed after dinner which help metabolize the food. Using a calorie counter, I counted the amount of calories burnt during the special night prayer of Ramadan (tarawih). It amounted to 200 calories. This form of prayer as well as the five daily prescribed prayers use all the muscles and joints and can be considered a mild form of exercise in terms of calorie output.
5. Ramadan fasting is actually an exercise in self discipline. For those who are chain smokers or who nibble food constantly, or drink coffee every hour, it is a good way to break the habit.
6. The psychological effect of Ramadan fasting are also well observed by the description of people who fast. They describe a feeling of inner peace and tranquility. The prophet advised those fasting, “If one slanders you or aggresses against you, tell him ‘I am fasting.”‘ Thus personal hostility during the month is minimal. The crime rate in Muslim countries falls during this month.
It is my experience that within the first few days of Ramadan, I begin to feel better even before losing a single pound. I work more and pray more. My physical stamina and mental alertness improve. As I have my own lab in the office, I usually check my chemistry, that is, blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride before the commencement of Ramadan and at its end. I note marked improvement at the end. As I am not overweight, thank God, weight loss is minimal. The few pounds I lose, I regain soon after. Fasting in Ramadan will be a great blessing for the overweight whether with or without mild diabetes (Type 11). It benefits those also who are given to smoking or nibbling. They can rid themselves of these addictions in this month.