Working Out After Giving Blood: Is It Safe?


Congratulations, you’ve just donated blood. It’s a good deed that will help a number of people. Your question now is can you work out after giving blood?

After donating blood, you’d like to go about your regular day. And one of the items in today’s agenda is hitting the gym for your regular workout.

But before doing so, make sure to read our article below. We explain when you can and when you shouldn’t go exercise after donating some blood.


Working Out After Giving Blood

The donation of blood is a charitable event anyone can do. It’s easy, you lose nothing and it’s so valuable to those who need it. Each donation goes a long way because by doing so, you will be saving somebody else’s life.

According to research conducted by Red Cross, every unit donated can go towards helping three people. Though this figure depends on the blood type since some blood types can be used by more people.

When it comes to blood donation, there are a few kinds available. Each is different and vary according not only to what kind of blood is donated, but also how it is done and what type of donation center you can do it in.

And whether you can workout after donating blood largely depends on what kind of blood donation you did. But in general, it isn’t advisable to exercise, workout or engage in any kind of intense physical training after giving blood.

Even though, donation of blood doesn’t have any harmful effect on your body, avoiding such vigorous activity helps you avoid any potential issues that can arise from combining these two activities.


When You Donate Blood

blood-donorExercises such as weight lifting are very strenuous. And, these kinds of physical activity should be avoided especially during the day that you have donated blood.

Doing so gives your body time to rest and recover from the blood donation.

Not undergoing such rigorous activities gives your body the opportunity to replenish the fluid that was lost when you donated blood.

This is the reason why most of the donation centers will give each donor some type of drink such as juice or water after the process. Some also offer other snacks as these help to replenish the fluid and energy. Drinking fluids also prevents you or any donor from experiencing dehydration.

Having a light walk is likewise advisable. This is because sitting on a chair the whole day may cause dizziness and lead to fainting. If you ever do feel like you’re having lightheadedness, it’s advisable you relax, have a seat, and drink a lot of fluids.

Only when you feel better do you start going up and about again. If the fainting spell or lightheadedness persists, make sure to contact your doctor or the donation center and explain the symptoms you’re experiencing. They will give you proper advice on what to do.


Types of Blood Donation: Why It Matters

Depending on the type of blood donation you are undergoing, it may also interfere with the exercise you do. Also, for some, the effects may be long term, with some experiencing symptoms up to three months out.

To explain, let’s go through some of the common types of blood donation:


Blood or Whole Blood

This is the most common. And it is probably the one you’ll be doing in the donation center. Whole blood donation extracts your blood and stores them in packages for use of patients who need them.

With whole blood, they take all the components. These include the red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.

  • blood-donationTo explain, the red blood cells are what make blood red. They’re also what give us energy and give our skin that vibrant look. Anemia is the disease where you lack red blood cells. When this happens, you get pale, feel cold, are weak and have no energy. It’s the red cells that give us our energy.
  • White blood cells are our immune system’s soldiers. They’re what fight off infections.
  • Platelets help in blood clotting. That is, they help wounds close and heal when we get cut. This prevents us from bleeding out.
  • Finally, there’s plasma which is the clear fluid that can be separated from blood. It contains proteins, enzymes, antibodies, water and salts.

Each of these components are useful in their own way.


Platelet Donation

Here you only donate platelets. This goes to patients who are suffering from low platelet counts or thrombocytopenia.

Platelets are also infused to some patients who are about to go into surgery. This helps high risk patients’ blood clot so the cuts made during surgery close later on.


Plasma Donation

Plasma donation only involves giving the clear portion of your blood. So you don’t lose any red blood cells, or platelets during the process.


Double Red Cell Donation

Double red cell donation is donating twice the number of units of red blood cells. In this process the platelets and plasma are returned to your body.

However, you’re giving twice the normal amount of red blood cells. This helps twice the number of patients. But it also takes a bigger toll on you in terms of energy.

Double red cell donation is often done with individuals who have high red blood cell counts or are large in stature (big, strong people).


What Does the Type of Blood Donation Matter?

gym-working-outIf you give platelets or plasma only, you won’t experience much of the effects. As such, you’re more likely to be able to go and workout without any issues.

We do however prefer you not, or if you do, make it a light workout day.

However, with whole blood donation or double red cell donation especially, it’s advisable to take the day off to rest and recover.

With double red cell donation, as mentioned earlier, the activity involves donating double the amount of the red cells.

With this type of donation, avoiding strenuous exercise for a longer period helps prevent and avoid you from experiencing hypoxemia, or low oxygen levels in the blood. This can happen because your body’s blood supply was depleted during the donation. And red blood cells are what carry oxygen to our organs.

Plus, it takes a while for the body to produce new blood cells to replace those taken out.


For High Level Athletes

For those who engage in activities or training at high levels like elite athletes, you may have to halt your training temporary due to the donation.

Such exercises they rely on the oxygen carry capacity of your blood. So, when you donate blood, it means a reduction of energy that will also affect your body’s oxygen circulation capacity.

This eventually affects your regular performance. If you are an experienced athlete who performs at a very high level, you’ll easily notice the difference in your performance. And this change may last up to 2 to 4 weeks before returning to its normal state.

So to avoid having such issues, it is recommended not to donate blood if you will be undergoing rigorous training or preparing for an event.

Though the use of iron supplements, vitamin Bs and folic acid can facilitate recovery of the performance of athletes by helping the body increase its blood production capacity.

Please make sure to consult with your doctor on when will be the appropriate time to resume your exercise.


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