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: Two Algerian professional soccer teams (55 men) were studied. Field tests of physical and soccer performance were collected before, at the end and 2 weeks after Ramadan in 2004. Players were queried on sleeping habits and personal perception of training and match performance.
Setting: Field setting at club training ground.
Main outcome measures: Performance on fitness and skill tests.
Results: Performance declined significantly (p<0.05) for speed, agility, dribbling speed and endurance, and most stayed low after the conclusion of Ramadan. Nearly 70% of the players thought that their training and performance were adversely affected during the fast.
Conclusions: The phase shift of food intake and disruption of sleep patterns affect actual and perceived physical performance. Islamic athletes need to explore strategies that will maximise performance during Ramadan.
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