Working Out and Fasting

Jun 2014
1,079
Wisconsin
#1
Just wanted to get some opinions on the topic.

Baha'i Law states that if one goes on a journey for two or more hours on foot, they are exempt from fasting for the duration of that journey (provided they resume fasting when the journey ends). The reason for this exemption seems self-evident to me: walking for two or more hours with nothing to keep hydrated is not a good idea.

Normally on Saturdays and Sundays I go out walking for 3-4 hours, and so I take water with me even during the fast, since this activity clearly falls under the exception.

However, the beautiful Wisconsin spring (or as we know it, Second Winter) is keeping me indoors at the moment, and I've been instead walking for 3-4 hours on a treadmill.

My question would be, in your opinions, would walking on a treadmill for two or more hours create the same exemption from fasting that walking outdoors for two or more hours creates??
 
Sep 2017
366
Earth
#2
Hey walrus hope all is well, I will offer just my thoughts.

I think going for a walk is an option, and if if it means breaking your fast then it's not worth it. Fasting after all is spiritual discipline and curbs the promptings of the self which desires it's way.

Also looking at Abdul Baha as the exemplar there are stories of believers begging him to open his Ramadan fasting of long hours due to his long schedule and little consumption.

Saying all that it's always down to the individual, we only have fasting for 19 days make the most of it.

Fasting is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.
(Shoghi Effendi, )
 
Mar 2015
225
Bend area, Oregon
#3
Walrus:

May I suggest that you immerse yourself in the prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh for fasting as all the answers related to its purpose and to your questions are there. Each of us surely have our own perspectives, and our own priorities as well. What it really comes down to is that practicing the Fast is an act of worship where we make our very best efforts to conform to the divine Will and to that to that spiritual Law revealed for our spiritual benefit. Ultimately, it is between you, as the believer, and your Lord.

Fruitful results. Take care.

-LR
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Mar 2013
562
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#5
You could exercise after sunset, or just before sunset and drink water when you get home. Walk at a more leisurely pace or for a shorter period. In my view, the heavy labor exemption is for work to earn a living, or potentially in service to others, not for personal enjoyment. But, I would only mention this if someone asked, it's really up to the individual to decide.
 
Jun 2014
1,079
Wisconsin
#6
First, thanks for the input so far!!

As a point of general clarification since I realize I didn't make it entirely clear in the initial post: I have no intention of eating during working out, regardless of whether or not a fast exemption qualifies here. My primary concern is merely drinking water, as I'm very particular and careful when it comes to hydration after an incident last July where (due to heat) I had a run-in with massive dehydration that left me bedridden for the rest of the day. Due to how careful I am with hydration as a result of that experience, I'm trying to be very careful when it comes to walking combined with the liquid part of the Fast.

[USER=8857]Yousefy2[/USER] said:
Fasting after all is spiritual discipline and curbs the promptings of the self which desires it's way.
Actually my more recent (as of a year-and-a-half ago) focus on physical fitness is an attempt to do this exact thing. And when I walk outdoors the hike is combined with prayer since the destination of the walk, the shore of Lake Michigan, is an excellent location for prayer (which is probably why the Temple was built on the shore of that same Lake). So it's kind of a case of two conflicting spiritual disciplines, as practicing both simultaneously might endanger dehydration, which as I now know from experience isn't something that should be risked...

Right now I have a kind of internal debate going on, trying to figure out if it is attachment that is telling me that I can't continue the weekend workouts to the point I should due to the Fast, or if it is attachment that is telling me I need to drink water during the workout. I'm trying to weigh which of these internal voices is the voice for attachment, and which is the voice for detachment??

Part of me thinks since the Law specifically mentions travel by foot that a treadmill does not qualify, however another part of me wonders if I am just using the Fast as an excuse for why I cannot use the treadmill on the weekends when I should just be walking and using the exemption codified into Law to ensure I don't succumb to severe dehydration. Am I trying to stick to the letter of the law that closely merely as a result of attachment??

These are basically the internal thoughts I am trying to sort out. Which of the two voices of this debate speaks for attachment, and which for detachment, in truth??

In my view, the heavy labor exemption
To be clear, this is the travel exemption I am referring to, not the heavy labor exemption. My normal weekend walk outdoors is clearly covered by the text given it is travel by foot for three-to-four hours (foot travel for two or more hours qualifies for this exemption). So were I to do as I normally do and walk down to the lake bringing with me a water bottle, the text of the Law would conform with doing that even in the daylight hours. But winter often lasts until mid-April where I live, and the outdoors are currently unavailable to me. And walking on a treadmill technically has no travel, even if it is the same basic activity as walking outdoors, hence the conundrum and my worry that I may be using the text of the Law to excuse laziness and not working out which, if I am doing this subconsciously as I suspect, is a terrible thing to do. :p Or at the least it would be ironically counterproductive, since I'd be using detachment from physical comfort as a reason to attach to physical comfort.

You could exercise after sunset, or just before sunset and drink water when you get home.
Right, and that's why my use of the treadmill on weeknights is still fine and causing no issue!! But on weekends, my free time available for working out is the morning, afternoons and evenings are typically busy. Weekdays get me one hour per day, where weekends get me three hours per day, so around half my available workout time is restricted to daylight hours.

Walk at a more leisurely pace or for a shorter period... not for personal enjoyment.
Also as clarification this is not for personal enjoyment, but for the sake of fitness and self-discipline (though my walks outdoors are for personal enjoyment. Treadmill walking is much more tedious in my own estimation, and it is only something I do for fitness when the outdoors are barred by rain or, in this case, cough-inducing cold.)

Which is why walking at a more leisurely pace of for a shorter period is kinda counterproductive (though it is ultimately what I did this weekend), as it results in far less calories burned than what my goal is.

And, of course, perhaps the weather will turn by next weekend, and all this will be moot. :p
 
Last edited:
Sep 2017
366
Earth
#7
First, thanks for the input so far!!

As a point of general clarification since I realize I didn't make it entirely clear in the initial post: I have no intention of eating during working out, regardless of whether or not a fast exemption qualifies here. My primary concern is merely drinking water, as I'm very particular and careful when it comes to hydration after an incident last July where (due to heat) I had a run-in with massive dehydration that left me bedridden for the rest of the day. Due to how careful I am with hydration as a result of that experience, I'm trying to be very careful when it comes to walking combined with the liquid part of the Fast.



Actually my more recent (as of a year-and-a-half ago) focus on physical fitness is an attempt to do this exact thing. And when I walk outdoors the hike is combined with prayer since the destination of the walk, the shore of Lake Michigan, is an excellent location for prayer (which is probably why the Temple was built on the shore of that same Lake). So it's kind of a case of two conflicting spiritual disciplines, as practicing both simultaneously might endanger dehydration, which as I now know from experience isn't something that should be risked...

Right now I have a kind of internal debate going on, trying to figure out if it is attachment that is telling me that I can't continue the weekend workouts to the point I should due to the Fast, or if it is attachment that is telling me I need to drink water during the workout. I'm trying to weigh which of these internal voices is the voice for attachment, and which is the voice for detachment??

Part of me thinks since the Law specifically mentions travel by foot that a treadmill does not qualify, however another part of me wonders if I am just using the Fast as an excuse for why I cannot use the treadmill on the weekends when I should just be walking and using the exemption codified into Law to ensure I don't succumb to severe dehydration. Am I trying to stick to the letter of the law that closely merely as a result of attachment??

These are basically the internal thoughts I am trying to sort out. Which of the two voices of this debate speaks for attachment, and which for detachment, in truth??



To be clear, this is the travel exemption I am referring to, not the heavy labor exemption. My normal weekend walk outdoors is clearly covered by the text given it is travel by foot for three-to-four hours (foot travel for two or more hours qualifies for this exemption). So were I to do as I normally do and walk down to the lake bringing with me a water bottle, the text of the Law would conform with doing that even in the daylight hours. But winter often lasts until mid-April where I live, and the outdoors are currently unavailable to me. And walking on a treadmill technically has no travel, even if it is the same basic activity as walking outdoors, hence the conundrum and my worry that I may be using the text of the Law to excuse laziness and not working out which, if I am doing this subconsciously as I suspect, is a terrible thing to do. :p Or at the least it would be ironically counterproductive, since I'd be using detachment from physical comfort as a reason to attach to physical comfort.



Right, and that's why my use of the treadmill on weeknights is still fine and causing no issue!! But on weekends, my free time available for working out is the morning, afternoons and evenings are typically busy. Weekdays get me one hour per day, where weekends get me three hours per day, so around half my available workout time is restricted to daylight hours.



Also as clarification this is not for personal enjoyment, but for the sake of fitness and self-discipline (though my walks outdoors are for personal enjoyment. Treadmill walking is much more tedious in my own estimation, and it is only something I do for fitness when the outdoors are barred by rain or, in this case, cough-inducing cold.)

Which is why walking at a more leisurely pace of for a shorter period is kinda counterproductive (though it is ultimately what I did this weekend), as it results in far less calories burned than what my goal is.

And, of course, perhaps the weather will turn by next weekend, and all this will be moot. :p
Hi walrus I will share my thoughts about attachment. My thoughts are that you may be at a conflict because neither are correct or incorrect, but another view you could hold is to be faithful to the fast at all costs, and work around that principle, and all things may be made possible.


"The Prophet (SAW) says when you are doubtful; “That which is lawful is clear, and that which is unlawful is also quite clear. Between these two is that which is ambiguous, which most people do not know. One who avoids the doubtful safeguards his faith and his honor.”
(Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 588)

Btw this is just my limited view on the first section, will respond with my limited thoughts on the other bit when I get time.

Hope the fasts are going well.
 

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