If I use a pedal exerciser, my legs need to actively push the pedal. However, if I attach my feet on the machinery pedal and let the machine rotate, my legs are still moving. I call that "inactive exercise".

hand crank, like bike pedals for hands, and a similar device for feet

Sure, the muscle doesn't work out because I don't spend energy, but the lymph does move in back and forth in the system. As I know, the immune system needs the lymph to move because that's how white cells can escape the blood vessel to protect the body. Massage is one way to stimulate the movement of lymph.

So, would my immune system (and my health in general) have equivalent results as it has if I really put my effort to do exercise?

  • Question includes some major errors with regard physiological functions. Lymph does not move if there is no muscle contractions in the legs: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7793.1997.233bf.x/…
    – arkiaamu
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:46
  • I haven't read all the paper but does it explain why massage does help lymph moves?
    – Ooker
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:58
  • "the propulsion of the lymph in skeletal muscle is dependent upon the external compression of the lymphatics (Refs 1&2). This compression can be produced by arterial vasomotion (Ref 1), or by muscle fibre deformations (Ref 3)." Considering massage as "external compression" massage could help in lymph moving.
    – arkiaamu
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:05
  • would inactive exercise be considered as "external compression"?
    – Ooker
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:08
  • while "inactive exercise" there is no muscle fibre deformation, so definitely no
    – arkiaamu
    Aug 5, 2015 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


Basically every movement you make uses energy. The exercice on your photo defenitly uses a moderate amount of energy depending on speed and time you workout. Simplified your lymph moves with every movement, not only when you use your strength; in a healthy body(no heart or vessel disease) it actually moves without any movement. The white blood cells need no movement to 'escape blood vessel', but true, your immune system works better with proper lymph drainage. (simplified)

To answer your question: In assumption you are a 'typical' more or less healthy person, yes, it will be good to exercise (not because of lymph movement though). Every workout you make, even if it is just going round for an hour, cycling or anything else, will improve your health.

Note that 'too much' may do more harm than good.

  • 2
    I have major concerns regarding this answer (as I had with the question). References are definitely needed. For example, this is very strong simplification: "your immune system works better with proper lymph drainage". "will improve your health" Do you mean that the improvement in health is due to better movement of the lymphatic fluid, if so, references definitely warranted.
    – arkiaamu
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:50
  • I assumed the author may not look for a too intricate answer. Thats why I added a "simplified". The correct answer to this would be too complex. To give you some references on the importance of lymphatic system see this review ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780287, search for comlications of lymphedema to find articles like that ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12162204.
    – SalkinD
    Aug 6, 2015 at 18:13
  • I'm sorry that I didn't receive the notifications. I'm still not sure if your answer is against or agree with the "inactive exercise".
    – Ooker
    Aug 20, 2015 at 18:18

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