Can You Exercise After Giving Blood? 

Blood donation centers are located throughout the United States. The American Red Cross has over 100 locations nationwide. You can donate blood at any time of day or night.

There are no special requirements other than being between the ages of 17 and 70 years old. You also need to have a clean bill of health, and no blood diseases. 

Can You Exercise After Giving Blood? 

The American Red Cross collects about 10% of all donated blood in the U.S. These blood donations are then used for transfusions, bone marrow transplants, research, and manufacturing vaccines.

Blood donors also receive a small amount of money for each pint they give. This is called compensation

Most people don’t realize that donating blood can have an effect on your ability to exercise and fatigue levels. Read on to find out more about giving blood and exercise. 

Risks Associated With Exercising After Giving Blood

Generally, professional advice is that you shouldn’t work out too hard right after giving blood. Exercising may cause you to faint or even lose consciousness during physical activity – you could fall, and hit your head or injure yourself.

Overexerting yourself after giving blood could even lead to you fainting after concluding the exercise – you could faint in your cat home after hitting your head. You should go easy on yourself until you recover.

Donating blood is a great thing because it helps others who need blood. However, when you donate blood, you obviously lose some blood inside your body, and lower your blood pressure levels.

You can replace this lost blood by drinking extra fluids. Your body needs to replace the excess blood you’ve donated.

This process usually takes around 4 to 6 weeks. After you donate blood, you should be careful about doing any physical activity.

The puncture wound in your arm from the needle site is also a factor that you have to consider after you have given blood.

You should let the wound heal over before you put your arm to work, as arm intensive exercises can reopen the wound, which can cause under skin bleeding, giving you a raised bump or flat looking bruise (both of which can be incredibly sore).

You also will want to avoid getting the wound in pool, sea or lake water – as it can let bacteria into your bloodstream and under your skin.

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Exercise After Giving Blood? 

When you give a unit of blood, you lose approximately 10% of the blood in your body. This means that you’ll feel tired and weak for several days after donating blood.

It’s important to drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods while recovering from giving blood, so that your bone marrow can easily replace all the lost blood.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling tired and weak; just rest up and get back into shape as soon as possible.

The American Red Cross recommends not working out too strenuously for at least three days after donating blood.

Can You Exercise After Giving Blood? 

They recommend that you take it easy and avoid activities such as running, lifting weights, and playing sports. If you do decide to exercise, make sure that you’re properly hydrated before starting. Drink lots of water and try to stay away from alcohol and caffeine.

If you’re worried about passing out or fainting during exercise, wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will protect you from injury.

Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. It may sound silly but make sure that you know where you parked your car, and how to get home safely.

Also, tell someone else where you’re going and when you expect to return.

If you’re concerned about losing consciousness during exercise, stop immediately and lie down. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, sit down and remain calm. Call 911 immediately.

To help relieve dizziness after giving blood, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Lie flat on your back and place your hands over your eyes. 
  • Breathe deeply and slowly. 
  • Do not move your arms or legs. 
  • Remain like this for 5 minutes. 
  • Then stand up slowly and walk around for 2-3 minutes.

Within 8 to 24 hours, your body should have replenished the lost blood volume – i.e., replaced the fluid portion of your blood with water. However, it takes a little longer for your body to replace the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet components of the blood.

Complete replenishment of your red blood cells after giving blood takes around four to six weeks.

This can have a major impact on your endurance abilities and fatigue, as they are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body, which is a key component of energy (ATP) production. 

Any Other Factors To Consider Before Exercising? 

The type of blood donation can have an impact on how soon after you should be exercising. For example, if you are giving a double red blood cell kind of donation, you should avoid any kind of strenuous exercise for longer.

Our advice is just to listen to your body – if you are tired or fatiguing more easily, then rest to regain your strength – your body probably needs to use up all of your energy on replenishing your blood! 

When you do start exercising again, take it slow, and don’t go into it with the expectation of setting new personal bests or records.

Just enjoy being active and getting some fresh air, and finish when you are feeling tired (rather than carrying on with your typical workout until you are exhausted).

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, most medical advice out there suggests that you wait at least a day after giving blood before doing any exercise.

You should be able to start low intensity exercise 24 hours after giving blood, but you should always listen to your body – it knows best, and sometimes it’s best to spend a day resting up and avoid exhausting yourself at the gym.

However, I would propose that you consult your doctor/nurse/healthcare provider if you have any hang-ups or adverse symptoms, and ask them what their recommendations are in terms of exercise after giving blood.

You may find that they agree with the general consensus, but also have specific concerns regarding your health history. They may recommend waiting until you feel better before starting to exercise.

You should be able to resume normal levels of exercise a few days after giving blood, but you may still be feeling the effects of lower red blood cell count for weeks after donating. 

Megan Rinzel
Latest posts by Megan Rinzel (see all)