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Thread: Donating blood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia

    Donating blood

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    I've never done this, but I think I would like to.

    How does it affect your ability to exercise -- short bike ride or other cardio, weight training, long bike ride -- and for how long?


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I can't speak for exercise, because I haven't tried, but I passed out after standing up too quickly about 2 hours after I donated the first time. I haven't donated recently because I rarely meet the requirements (surgery, receiving cadaver bone, etc).

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    I really think it depends so much on the individual. I can go do anything right after and I'm fine (after a glass of tomato juice), others feel down all day.
    I can't donate anymore*, so I've volunteered to herd the cats - er donators. I'd say only about 5% have serious faint-like symptoms. Another 10% or more are like me and unfazed.
    The rest are in the middle, feel a little light headed or hungry...
    I even used to ride my bike over from my office about a mile, then ride home from work about 5 hr later with no effects.
    This could be completely wrong, and maybe not PC - but folks (like me) who are over weight seemed to be the ones that were bothered the least.
    I highly recommend a big glass of water an hour before donating, and patients...

    *my blood vessels run right on top of my nerves, so a metal needle is excruciating- not an issue for blood samples, but won't work for sitting and donating over several minutes. Odd, apparently, but not unheard of.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Oslo, Norway
    I'm a huge fan of donating anything one can, I think it's really the closest you get to a true miracle. I wasn't allowed to donate blood for many years because of the extremely strict guidelines here (I'd spent just over a year in Africa as a child, fancy that). When they loosened up the guidelines a few years ago I signed up, and have now donated blood maybe 8 times or so.

    I feel fine afterwards, but I have low blood pressure and wooze easily so I drink before, during and after. I'm fine with gentle activity the same day and the next days, but nothing strenuous, and that can last for more than a week unfortunately. In February I went for a long, but not fast, xc ski trip 4 days after donating. I felt exhausted, got a terrible cold that turned into bronchitis and didn't kick it until 3 weeks later. I might have gotten ill anyway, of course, but I think I was pushing it a little. I'm more careful now and try to time donating to periods when I can take it easy for a week or so, avoiding energetic exercise. Relaxed bike riding and low key weight training, no problem.

    I know other people who say they have no reaction at all, so you just have to try. It's great otherwise
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I've done this numerous times and usually have no problem whatsoever. Usually though because if I don't time it properly with AF, then sometimes the combo will make me very tired. Definitely try it but be prepared for a lackluster feeling - better safe than sorry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    It's a great practice, one I have done for years. I wouldn't advise strenuous activity on the day of your draw. Be prepared for giving by boosting your iron if you can. There are foods you can eat leading up to a draw. Women often have trouble meeting the minimum level required-I do. One or two times my iron levels have left me fairly lackluster after a draw.

    However, I generally feel fine afterwards when I give and usually go back to activities the next day. I do agree with the other poster, that if anyone is not going to feel fine it's probably a thin/smaller person with less sturdy constitution.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    I've only given blood once in my life.

    I consider myself having a sturdy constitution --seldom have colds, only 1-2 plant allergies (cottonwood tree blooms), etc.

    But I am small/lighter in weight and occasionally have been slightly anemic. My blood pressure tends to be low.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    The Great White North
    I am a life-long regular donor. I have learned that I need to donate early in the week as I generally take my longer rides on weekends. I once got terribly sick on a hot ride 2 days after donating and realized that, with the heat and distance of the ride, my body needed all the red blood cells it could get and it was still down several. I tend to get winded a little more easily for about 1-2 days after donating. Your mileage may vary. It's a great thing to do!

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I have to take it easy the rest of the day and next day. I'm usually fine 2 days after.

    If I don't drink LOTS of fluids starting the day before donating, they are often unable to get the full pint in the allowed time. I have low blood pressure, so maybe that is why.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    I donate every 8 weeks. I usually donate on a Monday so I can be recovered enough by the weekend for my long workouts. I don't workout for about 2-3 days afterward because I'm so worn out and my workouts are crap for a few days.
    I tend to have trouble with dizziness after donating, so I put ice packs on the front and back of my neck during the blood-letting and drink a Gatorade during and I'm fine afterward.
    It will affect everyone differently. You won't know until you try!

    I feel like it's my duty to donate because I'm healthy and able, and hopefully, if I should ever need blood, there will be enough healthy and able people who were just as willing to give to save my life.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    When I was heavier (and sedentary) I was a regular donor. Never had a problem at all. Now, however, I'm down to once a year, right around New Years day. I've found that it takes at least a week to get my usual stamina/energy levels back, now that I'm lean and fit. Probably doesn't help that my blood pressure and pulse are barely high enough to qualify...

    Have you consider plasma donation as an alternative? Keeping your RBCs and giving the other stuff alleviates a lot of issues, from what I hear. (With my blood type, the donor center insists on whole blood only from me).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Listen to your body after donating. If you are light headed, take it really easy for a day or two. Some take longer.

    Your physical conditioning is not a good indicator on how well you do after you donate blood.

    If you are bigger and heavier, I think it helps than those who are petite. I would suggest you take it easy on your first time and just play it safe. And if you do work out have a close friend with you just in case you get dizzy or faint. Probably stay off the bike for a day or two again just to be on the safe side.

    And yes I have donated on numerous occasion after I became Rubensque not proud. No amount of cycling is getting rid of the weight. Or other exercises.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Bay Area
    There is a terrible shortage right now. If you can donate, go for it. It doesn't affect me at all. I am anemic but I take iron so there is no problem. You could be saving a life. If you feel like **** for a little while it's totally worth it.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Good for you!

    I donate regularly, and haven't had a problem, but I do try to take it easy for the next day or so. I'll ride, but go easy. And of course, no housework is allowed. It's a rule!

    Drink lots of water and such before and after. My donation center usually has homemade cookies from a volunteer, so that's a special treat.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Concord, MA
    Shooting Star, I'm surprised you were allowed to donate. In the US, you have to weigh more than 110.
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