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Running After Giving Blood

author image Jackie Carmichael
Jackie Carmichael has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in "Woman's World" and "American Baby" magazines. Carmichael is a licensed registered nurse and has worked in fields related to cardiovascular health and psychiatry. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The Ohio State University.
Running After Giving Blood
A nursing speaking with a young woman donating blood. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

When you give blood, you are saving lives. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in America needs blood and 38,000 blood donations are needed daily. Evidence also suggests giving blood may improve your own cardiovascular health. However, don't do strenuous physical activity like running immediately after you give blood. Give yourself time to recover before you run so you don't feel lightheaded or dizzy. Always follow the instructions provided at the facility where you gave blood.

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Following Donation

Following your donation, the American Red Cross advises against lifting heavy objects or doing strenuous physical activity for five hours. Obviously you want to postpone running immediately after giving blood as the exercise is considered a strenuous physical activity. You also need to avoid doing any other type of workout that involves lifting heavy objects or doing a strenuous type of activity. You can resume your running regimen after you rest for the mandatory period of time and enhance your recovery.

Enhancing Recovery

When you are recovering from giving blood, you can do a few things in addition to waiting five hours to enhance your recovery so you can get back to running. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids in the 24 to 48 hours after your donation. Try to eliminate caffeinated and alcoholic beverages so you are well hydrated. Also eat a complete meal before engaging in any type of exercise. Eat plenty of carbohydrates and lean proteins to replenish your energy level and to replace essential vitamins and minerals.

Safety Tips

The best way to avoid feeling lightheaded and dizzy when you run after giving blood is to follow the recommended recovery guidelines. If you feel dizzy during your run stop, lie down and elevate your feet. The most important safety tips are not to engage in physical activity at all if you feel lightheaded or low on energy, and stop running immediately if you feel dizzy to avoid a fall. If you don't feel right despite following recovery recommendations, contact the donation facility or your doctor.

Health Benefits

Running is a physical activity that decreases your risk for heart disease and improves your cardiovascular health. According to Florida Blood Services, giving blood may also decrease your risk of heart disease. Reasons for this may be that artery destroying iron is removed from your blood and the mandatory physical exam prior to donation helps to identify cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure.

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