While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to change their lifestyles in Oman, it has never been an excuse for the Muslim families to shun their habit of observing Ramadan, which has just kicked in with vigour as Muslims draw closer to one another during the holy month by coming together each evening to pray and break their fasts.
The good news is that this Ramadan, unlike the previous one, there are no COVID-19 restrictions. “I am excited about this Ramadan because there is no COVID-19 restrictions. In Ramadan, people spend more – mainly on food and beverages and meals taken during Ramadan help tighten family ties and increase social interactions,” Khalfan al Obaidani, a Seeb resident, said.
However, people need to be watchful of the hot weather and longer hours of fasting. “During Ramadan, the weather isn’t expected to be too hot. However, the hours will be long – averaging 14 hours throughout the month. According to the climate data for this period, the [average] temperature ranges between 20°C to 30°C for the first two weeks but it will get hotter towards the end,” Abdulwahab al Busaidi, head of observatory at Oman Astronomical Society, told Muscat Daily.
Busaidi urged people to take good care of their health by drinking plenty of water and eating hydrating foods during Ramadan. “High temperatures can also make you perspire more, so it is important to drink fluids to replace what you lose during the day. People also need to stay healthy by doing some light exercises before iftar,” he said.
During this time of the year, supermarkets are crammed with customers, shopping for food and drinks in preparation for the iftar meals. “Food will always be in demand even if there is an economic crisis due to the pandemic. People will always buy the same amount of foodstuff and this increases during Ramadan,” Amour al Tauqi, an Amerat resident said while shopping.
As far as keeping healthy in Ramadan is concerned, the month of fasting has many benefits. “For most people, fasting is safe as long as they remain hydrated. This can be achieved by drinking sufficient water at night and avoiding outdoor exercises just before iftar, which increases the risk of dehydration. This could be replaced with indoor flexibility exercises and any other suitable physical activity after iftar,” Dr Sulaiman al Shereiqi, senior specialist in public health at the Ministry of Heath, said.
“During the day, we need to avoid being in hot and humid places as it increases the loss of body fluids. Ramadan diet is not different from what we should have all year. We still need to consume a total of eight servings of fruits and vegetables and consume less sugar and sugary beverages,” he added.