Islam And The Benefits Of Physical Exercise

Khadija Ahmed

July 12, 2023
Muslim woman enjoying the benefits of physical exercise

In Islam, we believe that our bodies have been entrusted to us by Allah (SWT) and it is therefore our obligation to take care of the vessels we were born into. Maintaining them in the best way possible is therefore not only a key to a happier life in this world, but also forms part of our worship and obedience to God.

One of the ways we can take care of our bodies is through physical exercise, which should be as regular as we can manage. Exercise has been proven scientifically to not only be good for our physical health, but for our mental wellness too. Indeed, physical wellness was mentioned in many Hadith:

Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "O `Abdullah! Have I not been formed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?" I said, "Yes, O Allah's Messenger (pbuh)!" He said, "Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you." (Bukhari:5199)

Let's dig into what exactly the benefits of exercise actually are.

Physical benefits of exercise 💪

Exercise helps to improve our cardiovascular health, strengthen our muscles and bones, and increase overall stamina and endurance. Not only this, but regular exercise has been shown and proven to reduce the risk of severe illnesses such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It also helps to protect and strengthen our immune system, helping to fend off nasty colds and bugs.

Consistent exercise can also improve our sleep quality. It can help us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed and energised. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which are known to have a negative impact on mental health, which is directly affected by physical health, which leads us nicely on to...

Mental benefits of exercise 🧠

Regular exercise is known to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters that can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also change one's self-esteem and confidence, whether that's feeling good about the way you dress or being able to get through the day more rigorously and with more energy.

Exercise can also be a good social endeavour and helps you to connect with others. It provides opportunities to meet new people, join group activities (like tennis or football), and build relationships. This can be particularly beneficial in a post-pandemic world where many can feel isolated or lonely.

Spiritual benefits of exercise 🤲

Physical and spiritual wellbeing are very clearly interconnected. When we strengthen our bodies, which are the vessels of our souls, we are also improving our sense of discipline and self-control, which are important qualities in Islam. Indeed, the act of Ramadan every year is an example of how something like reducing our physical appetite, can lead to a greater level of taqwa or piety.

Heading outside and doing physical activities in open air can also help us to appreciate the beauty of Allah’s creation. It should increase our sense of awe and gratitude towards Allah, and deepen our connection to Him.

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