This symposium was organized to highlight new information regarding the mechanisms through which physical activity and exercise may affect the process of growth. Exercise associated anabolic effects (i.e., constructive or biosynthetic metabolic processes involved in tissue adaptation to physical activity) are varied and modulated by maturational and nutritional factors. Nonetheless, identifying common processes responsible for the many anabolic effects of physical activity may improve the ways exercise can be used in rehabilitation programs and to promote health. Thus, the overall aim of this symposium is to explore the diverse mechanisms that link physical activity with growth at both the cellular and somatic level. A conceptual model is presented that includes the interaction of central and local components of exercise modulation of growth. Central components encompass the mechanisms through which exercise of skeletal muscle groups can seemingly affect cellular growth and function throughout the body. Local components encompass those mechanisms that stimulate growth, hypertrophy, and the appearance of new mitochondria and capillaries in the muscle, bone, vascular and connective tissues involved in the specific exercise. The physiology of these putative mechanisms and their clinical applications are developed from six different perspectives.