With bridge dismantled, Mataf capacity will rise

Updated 05 April 2016
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With bridge dismantled, Mataf capacity will rise

MAKKAH: After four years of use, the temporary Mataf is being dismantled. Once the structure is removed, up to 30,000 worshippers will be able to perform tawaf (circumambulation of the Kaaba) per hour, which is an increase of over 20,000 per hour compared to previous times.

The dismantling is carried out according to a work plan that involves pulling apart the structure one section at a time, and done around the clock. The authorities plan to finish the job before Ramadan, which starts on June 6, depending on the sighting of the moon.
The dismantling was initiated on the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the crown prince, the deputy crown prince and the governor of Makkah because the expansion project of the Haram Mosque is now complete.
The head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, said the recent developments should be credited to King Salman. He said that it was on his directions that the work took place, including a number of workshops and meetings held with parties that have the direct bearing on the work. These included the technical committee in the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, the technical committee in the Education Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the executing contractor (Bin Laden Group) and the project advisers of Dar Al-Handasah.
This is in addition to the various security authorities, including the Grand Mosque Emergency Force, Special Haj and Umrah Force and the Civil Defense Security Force, who laid out an operations plan for the stages of dismantlement of the temporary Mataf bridge.
Al-Sudais added that there are now alternative routes to the Mataf for the elderly and physically challenged, as well as exit and entry points to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Additionally, there are currently four cranes inside the Mataf area, including a crane on the Haram surface to dismantle parts to the eastern side of the Salam Gate, to enable the dismantling process to be done in successive parts.


Ramadan offers ‘golden opportunity’ to get in shape, say Saudi fitness experts

The holy month of Ramadan is the perfect time to get into shape. Photos show clockwise from top: Sohaib Mubarak, Rayan Bashawri, Mashael Fagerah and Reham Kamal. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 5 min 45 sec ago
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Ramadan offers ‘golden opportunity’ to get in shape, say Saudi fitness experts

  • Many Muslims take advantage of the holy month of fasting to keep fit
  • For fat burning, it is better to work out an hour before breaking fast, since the insulin level is low, but for building lean, toned muscles, it is better to work out two hours after breaking fast because the insulin level is high

JEDDAH: Saudi fitness experts have urged Muslims to use Ramadan as a “golden opportunity” to start a new healthy lifestyle.
The holy month of fasting is the perfect time to get into shape, say some of the Kingdom’s top trainers.
With regular exercise, Ramadan can offer a new start for many worshippers both spiritually and physically. RK Fit gym owner, Reham Kamal, told Arab News that working out while fasting was healthy because the body used stored fat as energy, resulting in more fat burning.
The 32-year-old Saudi coach recommended low- to medium-impact workouts while fasting to avoid dehydration and advised trying calisthenics, a form of exercise consisting of a variety of movements which work large muscle groups, such as running, standing, grasping and pushing.
Kamal said: “Ramadan is a great opportunity to lose weight. We shouldn’t eat too much when breaking our fast. Sadly, in our culture, people take this month as an opportunity to fill the table.
“They aren’t seeing the golden opportunity to get into shape, because fasting has numerous health benefits, not only weight loss. It promotes blood-sugar control by reducing insulin resistance, increases growth hormone secretion, which is vital for growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength, and aids weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism.
“For fat burning, it is better to work out an hour before breaking your fast, since the insulin level is low, but for building lean, toned muscles, it is better to work out two hours after breaking fast because the insulin level is high,” she added.
Mashael Fagerah, 35, owner of House of Agility, a studio offering high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit training, said: “You can do everything you normally do during fasting especially if you are used to working out. But if you are a beginner, I would recommend starting carefully with low-impact training.”
She told Arab News that many Muslims took advantage of Ramadan to keep fit.
“Whether before iftar, before sahoor or between them, if you have the time for a workout just do it,” added Fagerah. “At the end of the day, it is better than doing nothing.”
Saudi personal trainer and co-founder of Swish bootcamp, Sohaib Mubarak, 29, said it was important to choose the right kind of fitness regime. “When you haven’t had anything to drink or eat your body is low in fuel and dehydrated. Therefore, performing high-intensity training would harm your body and your health.
“Also, studies show that the difference in results is insignificant between exercising in a fasted or a fed state,” he added. 
Mubarak recommended low-intensity cardio for a short period of time. “That is 60 percent to 70 percent of maximum heart rate. By doing that you won’t sweat much and get dehydrated.”
He said people often wrongly related not eating to weight loss, when infact they should focus more on maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than watching the weighing scales.
“In my opinion Ramadan is like any other month, because losing weight and having a good shape is about changing your eating habits and lifestyle for life not only for one month. One month is not enough to create a tremendous transformation. It’s all about consistency,” Mubarak told Arab News.
Saudi fitness trainer and owner of B. Bros gym, Rayan Bashawri, 27, stressed the importance of listening to the body’s needs and capabilities.
“So many studies have been done about fasted training or training on an empty stomach, and it shows different thoughts depending on what kind of athlete you are or what kind of sport you are doing.
“But my opinion is to listen to your body and do what feels right for you. It’s not healthier to do fasted training but it’s not bad for you either. You can reach your goal either way,” he told Arab News.
The number of people taking out gym subscriptions often shoots up during Ramadan.
Bashawri said: “Right after Ramadan is the time when people travel, and it’s a beach season as well, so obviously everyone wants to look good. The ages of those hitting the gym at this time of the year are from 18-30.”
Fasting was a great opportunity to lose weight, but Bashawri noted that staying up late and sleeping during the day was not ideal. He also warned people not to over-exert themselves if exercising during fasting as it could cause injury and dehydration.