Effects of Ramadan on physical capacities of North African boys fasting for the first time
Introduction: Most of the literature related to the effects of Ramadan fasting on physical performance has focused on adults, and only three studies have examined its impact on children’s physical performance.
Aims: To examine the effects of Ramadan fasting on first-time fasting boys’ performance in short-term explosive exercises [vertical and horizontal jump tests (VJT and HJT), 20-m and 30-m sprints and medicineball throw (MBT)], as well as in sub-maximal endurance [6-min walking distance (6MWD) measured during the 6-min walk test (6MWT)].
Methods: Eighteen Tunisian boys [mean9standard deviation (SD) of age and body mass (BM): 11.990.8 y and 55.4918.2 kg, respectively] were included. The experimental design comprised four testing phases: 2-weeks before Ramadan (BR), the end of the second week (R2) and the fourth week (R4) of Ramadan, and 10-12 days after the end of Ramadan (AR). At each phase, boys performed two test sessions in the afternoon (15:00-17:00 h) interrupted by 48 h of recovery (first test session: BM, VJT, HJT, and 20-m and 30-m sprint tests; second session: MBT and 6MWT). The study was conducted during the summer of 2012 from July 5 to August 29.
Results: 6MWDs (m) were significantly shorter during R2 (6529101) and R4 (5959123) compared to BR (697986) and came back to baseline values AR. BM (kg) mean9SD did not significantly change during R2 (52915) and during R4 (53915) compared to BR (55917), and short-term explosive performances were unchanged throughout the study.
Conclusion: In non-athletic children, first-ever Ramadan fasting impairs sub-maximal aerobic capacity but has no effect on BM or short-term explosive performance.
Keywords: Tunisia; Ramadan fasting; anaerobic exercise; walking distance; child