We have teamed up with our friends at Madonna ProActive for the month of January to support our BRIN Charity of Choice, Nebraska Community Blood Bank, with BRIN Blood Drive Month! The following is a blog post from NCBB on the positive affects of blood donation and running.

As runners, some of us may be reluctant to donate blood, thinking it will negatively affect our training and performance. But there are plenty of reasons to be a blood donor, especially when you think about the lives you can help save. There also are a few steps we can take to help ensure that we have the best blood donation experience possible.

First, consider that donating blood is a great and easy way to give back to your community.  It doesn’t require nerves of steel or super human strength. In fact, men and women throughout our community accomplish life-saving feats every day by donating blood with Nebraska Community Blood Bank. And since there is no substitute for the real thing, volunteer blood donors— people like you—are needed every day.

And once you do decide to become a blood donor, there are some things to consider. Your running routine and training regimen is one example.  During a typical blood donation about 10% of your body’s total blood volume (a little more than a pint) is collected. As a result, many recreational runners may not notice any change at all when making a blood donation, or perhaps only for a short time. For competitive athletes, however, donating blood before a major competition is not recommended. Instead, it’s probably best to wait and donate during the “off season” when you have more time to recover.

Then there is the impact of blood donation on your body’s iron stores where the body gets the iron to make more hemoglobin, the protein in red cells that carries oxygen to your body’s tissues and muscles.  When you make a whole blood or red cell donation, iron is removed. Indeed, for younger women and frequent donors of either gender, blood donation may remove most of the body’s iron stores. That’s why Nebraska Community Blood Bank strongly recommends replacement iron (e.g., Ferrous Sulfate 325 or Ferrous Gluconate 325 mg) to speed the replacement of the iron removed during a blood donation. Taking iron also dramatically increases the rate of recovery. And the good news is that iron is typically inexpensive, well tolerated by most people, and readily available over-the-counter at any pharmacy. Taking iron with orange juice or other source of vitamin C helps increase uptake. While many cereals are fortified with minerals and vitamins, cereal grains actually compete with iron absorption and do not add significant iron replacement to the diet.  For more in-depth information about athletic performance and blood donation, click here.

In addition, here are a few other tips and recommendations for runners who wish to donate:

  1. Stay hydrated! Hydration is essential to a positive blood donation experience and an active lifestyle. As almost half of your blood donation is water, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before you donate and after you’ve donated to help bring your blood volume levels back to normal.
  1. Eat a well-balanced meal before your donation. Find some healthy recipes here: https://www.pinterest.com/ncbblincoln.
  2. Use caution about the intensity and duration of activity immediately after donation. It is highly recommended that you avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for at least 24 hours after donating. Try to plan your donation around a rest day.

Blood donation benefits more than just those who receive blood. Prior to every donation, you also receive a free health screening that includes checking your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin levels. Plus, donating blood makes you feel like the good person that you are! The bottom line is that while blood donation may briefly affect peak performance, your body does return to normal. Donating blood is a great way to give back to the community and help save lives, just be smart about when you choose to donate!

Join us in supporting this awesome cause and earn a FREE BRIN Trucker Hat! We are hosting a blood drive on January 25th at Madonna ProActive, but spaces are limited so secure your appointment today!

If you can’t make it to the drive on the 25th don’t worry! Simply call NCBB to set up an appointment at one of their donor centers in the month of January!

Sign up for appointment at the drive on the 25th: https://goo.gl/H1Omt2

Donating any other time in January: https://goo.gl/hLwqGt