I’m A Competitive Athlete: Can I Donate Blood Still?

I love being active. I love the adventure that comes with taking my road bike on a one-hundred-mile ride. I live for the after-effect of feeling my body relax proceeding a heavy lifting day. Obviously, exercise keeps our bodies healthy. Scientists and researchers are even finding that it is comparable to taking medicine in the way it can heal and help with heart disease and stroke victims.

I’ve always tried to be as physical as I can, even working a desk job at Incept for long hours each day. It is always cool to talk to blood donors who are physically active, as well. They are in great health and are usually prime candidates for donating blood in a quick and easy manner. If that is the case, then why are so many people concerned about the effects of donating blood while they are training?

“Coach told me not to donate during the season…”

I can’t tell you how often I have heard that excuse from younger donors when I’ve recruited blood donors in the past. Many business professionals who I call for their mobile blood drives at work also tell me they cannot donate since they are training for a local marathon (or something along those lines). I’m here to bust the myth about not being able to donate blood while your sport’s season is going on or while you are training for your 10k.

  • If you are a healthy athlete, you can donate blood. As stated earlier in this blog post, most athletes (especially the younger ones) are in peak shape. Their bodies are used to the stress and wear and tear of practice and have grown strong from it. Staying well hydrated, keeping calories in you, and donating after your practice and game are all easy ways to be able to play sports and donate at the same time.
  • Donate blood on your off day. Even professional athletes have an off day in their busy practice schedules. Most medical experts advise not overexerting yourself physically for 24 hours after donating blood, so if you donate on your rest day, you can be safe and ready to wake up the next morning to train as usual.
  • Stay hydrated, and keep healthy food in you. Athletes need a ton of energy, so even if you aren’t donating blood, if you are working out or training for a sport, you should always be properly nourished. When you donate blood, the average person burns between 550-750 calories to replace the fluid they have donated. When you think about it, that many calories being burned is the equivalent of running a few miles at a decent pace, which can make anyone feel tired and not on their “A” game. Stay hydrated and full, and you’ll be fine!

These are just a few tips that have worked for me and many other athletic folks who enjoy an active lifestyle and still want to donate blood. Remember, when you are an overactive lifesaver, always make sure to make rest and nutrition staples in your donation routine just as you would after a workout, and you’ll be right as rain.