My Road to Exercise

Exercise makes me feel better. When I adhere to a regular routine, I feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually uplifted. I have more energy. I know that it’s good for my body, my family and my worship to Allah SWT. There have been many times in my life that I have deprived myself of physical activity using excuses like lack of time, the children need me more at this age, I can’t afford to sacrifice my sleep, I need a better place to work out, I need more machines, I need people around me to motivate me, I need better weather, I need better shoes, I need money for a female gym membership, I need someone to take care of the kids, I need a different EVERYTHING!!!

After two children and 30 extra pounds, I realized that there is no perfect scenario. The only real need was to have a desire to stay healthy for the sake of Allah SWT. I hated that my mind was always foggy. I had trouble remembering things. I hated that my body always felt tired and restless. I hated that I had trouble concentrating especially in salah. I hated that my muhajaba clothes were tight and getting tighter. I resented having to buy bigger sizes because of my lack of discipline. I felt ashamed of myself. I knew in my heart of all hearts, that it was time for a serious change. A change in attitude and discipline.

I am not one to procrastinate, but at the end of a long day all I wanted was a cup of tea and some peace and quiet. So, for me, it was very important to start my day with some form of physical activity. Initially, I thought the best plan for me was 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning. It did not work out well with the children’s needs and my morning dhikr/Quran time. So now, once the kids are fed and dropped off at school, before I do anything else, I do one of my exercise tapes for 20 to 30 minutes. I have a variety and I do whatever I can for however I long I can. I don’t stress myself out. My goal is 30 minutes but sometimes after 20 minutes I just sit for a bit. I set my three year old daughter up with her running shoes and some fitness equipment and she joins along. I put a snack on the table and she helps herself.

When they were younger I did a lot of outdoor walking. But when the colder weather hit, my exercise mood declined and my cravings for home made butter cookies and hot tea increased. The struggle continued. I’d gain weight over autumn and winter and then I’d try hard to get a little off by summer. The pounds were piling up and my metabolism was slowing down.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my best workout happens in my living room. I do push ups and sit ups with the kids all over me. I love Tae Bo and doing yoga poses with the kids. We do family stretching time and I taught my little ones how to give me great hamstring stretches. I’ve got a lovely little 20 minute workout that came with a five pound ball. (It only cost me $8). I find articles to read about health and nutrition and talk about it with the kids. We talk about our meals and what food groups we covered and what we are missing. We talk about how much more exercise we have to do if we eat an extra piece of dessert. We talk about Allah and how much He loves us for trying to take care of our bodies.

I’m not sure where you are in the spectrum of good health. My hope is that these few words will move you along the path to be more healthy in your service to Allah.

Sharda Mohammed

Sharda Mohammed is a Canadian born mother of two young children. She has a keen interest in learning to foster leadership, self esteem and empathy in young children. She works part-time as a physical therapist.

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About Marwa Aly
  • maha

    When I’ve been exercising regularly I feel like a different person, so full of energy and nothing can hold me back. Most of my exercise is in my living room too!

    It’s so true that staying healthy has impact on so many things–our parenting, patience, endurance, ability to concentrate–all things that can help us get closer to Allah swt.

  • Aishah

    Those excuses sounded way too familiar! lol

    I need to get movin..

  • fatima

    i like this sharda. jak for sharing. i’m still struggling to find my own exercise routine, have a few good days and many bad weeks in between.

    what exercise videos work for you?

    i recently discovered the jillian michaels workouts and i absolutely love them. they’re high intensity and short-25 mins- which is exactly what i need.

  • Ummossama

    JAK, for the reminder- maybe it will get me going. My only exercising is walking. Want to do more. Need to do more!!!Procrastination. Procrastination. I have been saying “tomorrow for the last ten years!!!Would anyone like to be my personal trainer?

  • UmJawaad

    JAK Sharda…..I also need to get rid of my superficial obstacles and the all too real extra pounds. I see the Trinidadian connection, oh how I long for my afternoon cup of hot tea, even if it has to be decaf for now.

  • dim sum

    i was just talking about walking like 5 minutes ago and how i need to start up again, insha Allah!! JAK sharda. i will do it, insha Allah!!

  • Maryam

    “there is no perfect scenario…” So true! I always find myself waiting for things to change or become how I ‘want’ them to be, but it’s only when I recognize my need for the external to change that I can actually free myself to do what I need to do to make take the initiative and make the changes myself!


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