Friday, August 9, 2013

Can You Work Out After Donating Plasma?

Q: Can you exercise after plasma donating? My physical endurance seems to dip a bit after giving blood.  I've noticed that it makes my running times up to 20 percent slower.  However, donating non-red cell components like platelets and plasma has no effect on my exercise performance.  So should I work out after plasma donating, wait for my athletic performance to return to normal levels, or skip plasma donations altogether?

A: Donating plasma or blood and then exercising immediately can cause a rupture at the donation site. Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the body, you'll notice the effects of donating first in your breathing, stamina, and recovery time following exercise. You need the blood to supply oxygen to your muscles and remove co2.

The Red Cross Website States: "Whole blood donors are advised to refrain from strenuous exercise for at least 12-24 hours following blood collection. When you donate whole blood, you lose about 10% of your red blood cells, and it makes a difference during high exertion exercise."

Most blood plasma centers state that you shouldn't exercise in a moderate to strenuous manner for 12-24 hours following a donation.

Why Can't You Exercise After Donating Plasma?

Everyone's body is different, and each person will be affected differently by donating blood. Donating plasma could cause strain on your heart as the blood will be less fluid, so you shouldn't donate to often and try to minimalise strenuous exercise for 24hrs after.

Most blood plasma center medical directors would recommend waiting a minimum of 12 hours before attempting strenuous exercise after volunteer blood plasma donation.

By donating blood plasma, you're also donating your lipids, iron, and trace minerals in the blood. The reason you can't donate plasma right after exercising is that they might take too much of your blood and induce anemia - which causes symptoms like fatigue, fast heartbeat, exercise intolerance, trouble breathing, and a high risk of passing out.

How Long Will I Take To Recover my Strength After Donating?

For most people, the decreased oxygen capacity of the blood will have no impact on exercise tolerance. Healthy adults will recover their full strength from donating plasma within hours, but the decreased blood iron may affect strength training long-term.

To recover your full strength for exercise, take it easy and rest well the day after donating, while hydrating yourself with electrolyte drinks. Do light exercises for a couple of days after donation, working your way up to heavier exercise.

Staying Hydrated During Plasma Donation

Remember to keep hydrated after your plasma donation. Definitely drink lots of water before you'll want to spread it out throughout the day. Drinking water will also make your plasma donation faster, as it lubricates your blood cells. If you find that you're dehydrated from sweating after your exercise, it's especially important to drink lots of fluids..

How You Feel Physically After Donating Plasma

There are lots of things that can affect the way you feel after you give blood. What you ate, how much you exercise, your fluid intake, or if you've been sick recently. Generally, donors black out from a temporary hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar). Before you donate, be sure that you eat about 30 minutes before you go, to avoid passing out. After you donate plasma, sit around for a while and enjoy the pure sugary snacks they've laid out for you.

Donating Plasma Eligibility

Plasma donor donation centers have strict eligibility requirements for donors, to ensure that no donors or potential plasma recipients are harmed. For example, you shouldn't exercise or drink alcoholic beverages for a few hours after you donate. For 24 hours after your blood plasma donation, avoid strenuous exercise (hot showers included).

You should not give blood more often than every eight weeks because it takes that long to replace lost nutrients.

Before and After Plasma Donation

If it you donate regularly over a long time without pre-preparation, you will feel fatigued, tire easily, be pale, have no exercise tolerance, feel cold and other unexplained symptoms. The night before you donate, please make sure to drink water. Eat increased protein before plasma donation (meats and/or nuts). Avoid strenuous exercise after donating, and for the rest of the day.


  1. It seems like you guys are a little confused about the difference between donating blood plasma and donating whole blood. These are very different processes that have profoundly differently consequences on one's physiology.
    "After all, when you donate your blood, you are donating the lipids in your blood, too, right? The reason they don't want you to donate is that they're afraid of taking too much of your blood and inducing anemia . . ."
    This is something one has to worry about only when donating whole blood. When donating plasma, the red and white blood cells are returned, and what is taken from the body is only water, fat, and protein.
    "A healthy person should be able to recover completely from donating blood in eight weeks"
    This is true only from donating whole blood, as this is the time is takes for lost red blood cells to be replaced. It only takes one week to fully recover from plasma donation, and you are even allowed to donate twice a week.
    I could go on but I think I've made my point. I would suggest doing a serious rewrite of this article with the help of someone who knows a bit more about human physiology and clinical procedures or deleting it altogether because it's more than just confusing, it's incorrect!

    1. I am glad you cleared that up - I think the article should be re-written and made more clear as to BLOOD donation or PLASMA donation. They really and clearly are 2 separate things.

  2. I second Stephen's observations. I've donated whole blood, and I've donated plasma. Recovery from each is very different.

    The ignorance shown in this blog post, on a blog allegedly dedicated to plasma donation, is appalling. The author clearly does not know their subject, has not done their homework, and has phoned this in like a high schooler with an essay assignment.

    If this were simply for a grade, well, the sloppy and poorly researched writing is at least grammatically correct and lucid. The writing is qualitatively well matched to a general audience, so for an English paper, no worse than C+. But the content is junk, so for a Science paper, I'd fail it.

    Unfortunately, this is on the internet as a source of information, and clearly, it's alleging to provide information that actual people would seek out. It fails utterly and miserably at what it is supposed to do: provide information about safe recovery time to exercise following a plasma donation.

    The real big concern following plasma donation (a place to start actual research if the author wants to clean up this sad mess) is not anemia. You still have almost all your RBC's (Red Blood Cells). A trivial amount are lost as the tubing involved will still have some residual blood in it, and you will lose a little blood for diagnostic screening--and I do mean a little. They prick your finger.

    The real cause for concern is the venipuncture. Plasma collection uses a fairly large needle gauge. It takes about two hours under a light compression bandage to seal up enough to take the bandage off. But, strenuous activity might raise your blood pressure enough to re-open the venipuncture wound. The real question is: when is it safe to allow you blood pressure to elevate and to what degree? How many hours till I can do light exercise? How many till I can run or do hard bicycling or lift weights without risk of bleeding? These are the real concerns about exercise post plasma donation.

  3. I agree with the last post so the question still remains...I was new to donating plasma today and working out is a huge part of my daily regimen. I didn't work out today after everything was over however tomorrow I'd like to start back.

  4. So...24 hours after donating plasma should be safe to go for a 3 mile run? I like running and donate twice a week but lately I've been wondering if it's safe....does anyone know?

  5. I've donated plamsa for years. I'm also running @ 50km per week. My personal experience ( no medical expertise ) is that 12 hours after donating, my performance is down @ %20. After another 24 horus I feel fully recovered

    Very happy to put up with the downturn in training for the community benefit of the donation.

    47 year old male, running better than 4min30s km

    Donating whole blood stuffs my running for at least a week, I have to ease back into it slowly

    Hope this helps


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