Does Ramadan Really Affect Athletic Performance in Football? Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are Muslims but can their performances be effected in Ramadan.
When most of us hear the word Ramadan, our brain automatically thinks of Muslims, and rightly so. We think of Muslims from all walks of life; Lawyers, doctors and so forth. However, we often fail to realize that Muslims are also involved in Sports activities as well.
Take for example the two of the worlds most famous footballers who are Muslims, the worlds most expensive Paul Pogba and two-time Premier League winner and current player of the year N’Golo Kanté.
In this article, we seek to unearth how such athletes are affected during the period of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a religious fasting event that takes place annually and involves every Muslim across the globe. They refrain from food, water, smoking and even drinking for a period of 29 to 30 days. The Islam religion requires them to have a pre-fast meal before dawn, and have a fast-breaking meal at dusk.
Studies have shown that fasting has a disruptive effect on the normal sleeping pattern. Notably, those involved in fasting have been reported to experience more periods of wakefulness and reduction in rapid eye movement at night.
This is most likely because of the large meal intake at night. Large meals at night are associated with the increase in cortisol and insulin levels in the body.
These two hormones are responsible for the provision of energy, hence the lack of sleep at night.
Ramadan entails one should abstain from any form of calorie intake during the day. This, in turn, leads to the reduction in energy levels. This might influence the individual to take naps during the day. This may affect athletes negatively in terms of performance.
Energy Level and Fatigue
Fatigue is a by- product of fasting. It can be attributed to low energy production from decreased levels of cortisol and insulin. Fatigue will considerably affect athletic performance negatively. However, studies have shown that if the fasting athlete’s schedule is controlled, the effects will be reduced considerably.
Maybe even to a point that the performance level is not influenced or affected negatively. Short periods of exercise seem to be generally unaffected. However, fasting individuals have a harder time when engaging in longer periods of exercise.
Moreover, studies have reported increased energy levels and high performance in the morning among the fasting individuals. Muslims partake in a pre- fasting meal known as Sahour in the early morning period. This leads to increased cortisol and insulin levels that in turn lead to increased energy levels especially during periods of stress.
Behavioral changes have been reported among fasting individuals during Ramadan. This does not exclude athletes, especially in terms of performance. Their cognitive function is negatively affected, and in turn, affects their performance.
Mood changes are also witnessed among fasting athletes. This could potentially influence training sessions or even the performance of the athletes on the field. However, if their training and sleep schedule is controlled, the effects can be minimal.
In conclusion, fasting does affect athletic performance. Controlling and modifying the training schedules can decrease or eliminate the effects significantly. There are a few advantages of fasting. Fasting has been shown to detoxify the liver and lead to an increase in the growth hormone.
List of Muslim Footballers
Do you think fasting can effect sporting performance? Do you have a special way you manager you performance levels when fasting?
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