If your son loves wrestling you might want to get him involved in wrestling early, and it may significantly boost his immune system. A new study reveals the levels of all groups of white blood cells rose significantly, particularly natural killer cells, in boys ages 14 to 18 after a one-and-a-half hour session of wrestling practice.
Investigators also tested the circulating levels of white blood cells and other indicators of immune system responsiveness before and after the wrestling session in 11 boys. Study participants warmed up for 20 minutes, which included jogging and stretching, then performed technique drills including take-downs, escapes, and pins for 20 minutes. Next, the boys practiced situation wrestling where participants were given specific wrestling positions to perform and live wrestling in which each wrestler was paired with a partner of similar weight and ability for a six minute match.
Natural killer cells are the body's first line of defense against cancer cells and cells infected by viruses. They search out the equivalent of a "flag" carried by normal cells, and those without are blasted with a powerful cocktail of chemicals to destroy them. Researchers say white cell responses to exercise during childhood and adolescence may be important for the development of the immune system for overall growth and previous studies have shown exercise boosts the immune system in adults.