Eating to nourish your body is something I talk about almost every day (I work as a Paediatric Dietitian). Educating families on how to adapt their child’s diet and the family’s eating habits can often take time, but sometimes lack of knowledge and persisting habits is not the only factor that impedes progress. In 2019/20 approximately 1.9 million people used a Food Bank in the United Kingdom, around 300 thousand more than the previous year. Food availability is something most of us take for granted and to think there are families around us who may not have enough to eat feels like an unimaginable reality. The Ramadhan Relief initiative has meant that whilst families are fasting, the worry of sourcing iftar at the end of a day is lifted for a short while. It means that at the end of the fast, families are nourished physically so the focus of the month can remain spiritual. That to me seems like a great cause.

Awareness around the benefits of physical activity on health has increased over the years. We are fortunate that we have had access to a wide range of activities in-house across all age groups and this has largely been propelled by SJ. This is a huge benefit especially if we consider this in the context of illnesses that effect South Asian communities such as diabetes. 

I am thankful that activity has always been a part of my life. I grew up spending many hours on my bike after school and learning to play football, badminton and volleyball in my back garden. Living in an extended family meant I had a coach (my chacha) on hand who taught me many of my sporting skills.

I feel like watching my boys play sport under SJ has meant they have had a similar experience – one where uncles and coaches are often one and the same! 

I’d say that for me, physical activity not only gives me the serotonin boosted feel good factor but has taught me a few life lessons. I have learned the importance of setting yourself clear goals at the outset. If I set out to run 5km l have never been able to do more – the lack of mental preparation prior is always a limiting factor! Secondly, consistency is key and turning up is always the hardest part. Lastly, the real work starts when you want to give up! Pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself is always worth doing. 

This year, SJ’s Ramadhan Relief challenge is inclusive of a variety of activities from cycling to walking and running with a target of 100,000 active minutes over the month of Ramadhan. The personal benefit will hopefully be that activity becomes a part of daily life and this in turn has an overall positive impact on long term health. So if you haven’t already, take that first step (no pun intended) get moving and please donate! 

Article contributed by Tehseen Mustafa as part of the SJ Ramadhan Relief Challenge.

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