Workout Workout trivia

Donating blood and physical activity

There is a large group of sportsmen, who quit regular blood donation for fear of decreased efficiency, endurance and worse sports results. There are also active donors, who wonder if a day of blood donation needs to be a non-workout day. What is the truth?

Can I donate blood if I practice sport?

Blood of healthy people who regularly practice sport and eat well is distinguished by higher oxygenation and better parameters of particular blood components. Unless a sportsmen takes forbidden substances that negatively influence blood quality, he or she may become a donor.

The influence of blood donation on training

Donating 450 ml of blood and by the same token red cells makes the remaining blood in the organism diluted in order to preserve proper blood pressure. It happens as a result of increased volume of plasma and at the same time decreased concentration of red cells and hemoglobin, which leads to worsening VO2 max as a result of less effective transport of oxygen through blood.

However, studies from the year 2014 did not show any differences in the time of performed effort by sportsmen 2-3 days after donation and also there were no considerable differences in HR max, resting and maximal lactate concentration and maximal power. It is caused by the fact that the organism balances worse oxygen efficiency, deriving energy from anaerobic processes.

Nevertheless, it is better to stay cautious at least on the day of blood donation and use this day as a non-training day. However, if you need to perform training on that day, it should be lower-intensity activity – our specialists will help you choose a proper workout kind. It is best to go back to tough training sessions after 2-3 days from blood donation.

Training before donation?

Performing even a light training before donating blood is not a good idea. When donating blood you should be rested and full of powers. Losing 450 ml of blood is a burden for the organism and if you donate blood on an empty stomach, tired and sleepy, you may faint and experience deterioration of well-being.


There are no contraindications for a person who practices sport, especially as recreation, to become an active blood donor. Due to the fact that our organism needs around 6 weeks for the full regeneration of the number of red cells, it is better not to donate blood before important competitions.


About author

Cara Marshall

Cara Marshall

› All posts

Add Comment

Click here to comment