Hajj, or the Great Pilgrimage to Makkah, is the fifth pillar of Islam that is considered by many devotees as the journey of the body and the soul. Pilgrims who perform Hajj follow the footsteps of the Prophet Ibrahim and his family.
Going through this pilgrimage is one of the most physically and spiritually rewarding experiences Muslims can undergo. And to get the most from this religious journey and be an excellent guest of the Almighty in the holy city of Makkah, it is important that you arrive fully prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually to meet the Host.
Preparing Your Body for Hajj
Arriving one or two days before Hajj and staying at one of the resplendent hotels in Makkah is a good start to physically preparing for your pilgrimage.
If you arrive early, you will have some time to relax and prime your body for the upcoming gruelling activities.
Also, you need to get enough rest and indulge in a great meal at the end of each day so staying at an exceptional hotel which excellent facilities and services will help you get these.
In addition to the tip above, here are other ways on how to adequately prepare for Hajj:
- Include walking in your workout regimen
Performing Hajj means doing a great deal of walking not only within the Grand Mosque but in other places as well.
By adding walking to your weekly workout program, your body will be ready for this kind of physical activity once Hajj begins. In addition, by following a simple program of walking, you will acquire the level of fitness needed to lessen some of the physical stress of Hajj.
To build your body’s endurance and resilience, it is best to start walking 15 to 30 minutes per day outdoors or using a treadmill three to four months before Hajj.
- Focus on lower body strength training
Aside from walking, pilgrims will stand, sit, and squat for long periods of time. To strengthen your leg and lower back muscles, put emphasis on lower body exercises as well.
Examples of these exercises include:
- Squats (quarter, parallel, and half squat)
- Romanian deadlift
- Leg press
- Calf raise
By doing these exercises regularly, you will also avoid straining your lower body and acquiring other related injuries during your pilgrimage.
- Observe a healthy diet
Having a healthy diet before and during Hajj will go a long way in helping you stay physically fit throughout your practice of these spiritual activities.
Focus on eating well-balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Stay away from or minimise your consumption of fatty and sugary foods and beverages. If you are fond of snacking on processed snack foods such as store-bought cookies and chips, swap them with fresh veggies and fruits such as carrots, cucumbers, apples, and avocados with a hummus or peanut butter dip.
Lastly, always drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Get a check-up
Even if you think you have physically prepared for your pilgrimage, it is best to see your doctor first one or two weeks before your flight.
Undergo a complete physical and other tests that your doctor recommends. If you are already on medication or your doctor has prescribed additional ones, make sure you bring the right quantity and a few extras for your journey.
Don’t forget to ask your doctor to recommend some supplements as well. Ask for ones that are high in vitamin C and other immunity-boosting nutrients so that you can keep illnesses at bay during your pilgrimage.
- Be ready to combat common illnesses
During Hajj, you will be in the midst of thousands of people from all over the world. This may mean exposure to common infections that can be easily prevented.
So be sure to pack some over-the-counter anti-cough, colds, and flu medicines along with antacids and antimotility medications. You can lower the risk of contracting respiratory diseases by wearing a face mask especially during rites where you will be in close contact with other people.
Lastly, always drink your supplements, stay hydrated, and continue to have a
well-balanced diet during Hajj to keep your body healthy and strong.
Don’t forget to make the most of the hotel services and facilities you are entitled to so that you can work out or get a massage after Hajj.
Doing all these will help you stay healthy and fit before, during and after your pilgrimage.
Mohammed Ghanem is the General Manager of Shaza Hotel in the Makkah Governorate in Saudi Arabia. The newly opened 5-star Shaza Makkah is an intimate cocoon of serenity and contemplation to compose oneself for all that life’s greatest journey would require.