OBJECTIVE: Ramadan is a period of daylight abstention from liquid or solid nutrients. As sports continue to be scheduled, an understanding of the effects of Ramadan on Muslim athletes is warranted.
DESIGN: We studied 2 Algerian professional soccer teams (N=55 males) . Field tests of physical and soccer performance were collected before, at the end, and 2 weeks after Ramadan in 2004. Players were queried on sleep habits and personal perception of training and match performance.
SETTING: Field setting at club training ground.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Performance on fitness and skill tests.
RESULTS: Performance declined significantly (p<.05) for speed, agility, dribbling speed, and endurance and most stayed low after the conclusion of Ramadan. Nearly 70% of the players felt that their training and performance was adversely affected during the fast.
CONCLUSIONS: The phase shift of food intake and disruption of sleep patterns affects actual and perceived physical performance. Islamic athletes need to explore strategies that will maximize performance during Ramadan.
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