Time Course for Recovery of Peak Aerobic Power After Blood Donation


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Abstract

Judd, TB, Cornish, SM, Barss, TS, Oroz, I, and Chilibeck, PD. Time course for recovery of peak aerobic power after blood donation. J Strength Cond Res 25(11): 3035–3038, 2011—Peak aerobic power (O2peak) is decreased after blood donation, but the time course for full recovery is unknown. We measured O2peak and exercise time to fatigue before and weekly for 4 weeks after 450-ml blood donation at a blood donor clinic, to determine the time course of recovery. Twelve moderately active individuals (2 women, 10 men; 24.3 ± 5.2 years) of average aerobic fitness (based on their O2peak relative to normative values) completed O2peak exercise tests before donation, the day after donation, and at weekly intervals for 4 weeks after donation. O2peak was determined by an incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer. At baseline, mean absolute and relative O2peak values were 4.06 ± 0.92 L·min−1 and 46.6 ± 7.0 ml·kg−1·min−1, respectively. O2peak was significantly decreased on day 1 (3.85 ± 0.89 L·min−1; 44.0 ± 6.5 ml·kg−1·min−1) and during week 2 (3.91 ± 0.97 L·min−1; 44.5 ± 7.2 ml·kg−1·min−1) after blood donation (p < 0.05), and recovered at week 3 after donation. Time to fatigue and peak heart rate were not significantly affected by blood donation. We conclude that blood donation causes a significant decrease in O2peak for between 2 and 3 weeks. The practical application of this study is that aerobic power in people of average fitness will be decreased, up to 3 weeks after donating blood. Despite this, there is no effect of blood donation on performance as measured by time to fatigue during an incremental test on a cycle ergometer.

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