To assess exercise effects on growth, other variables modulating growth need to be taken into account. Endogenous control of growth proceeds from local actions of growth factors and dependence on nutrient abundance through guidance by growth hormone (GH) and other anabolic hormones to neuroendocrine suppression of growth. Nutrient abundance controls the reparative growth of lean body mass in adulthood by coupling it to anabolic endocrine reflexes. Growth is blocked when catabolic endocrine reflexes govern energy expenditure. The relationship between exercise intensity and growth is nonlinear. Growth is an intermittent process. Its expression and stimulation are dependent on ultradian and circadian rhythms of energy metabolism and neurohumoral release. High-resistance exercise selectively stimulates growth of the musculoskeletal system through expression of growth factor genes in the challenged tissues and without the GH guidance or abundant nutritional support. Habitual endurance exercise stimulates reparative growth of lean body mass through the neuroendocrine adaptations including increased pulsatile GII secretion. These also facilitate oxidative utilization of storage lipids thereby contributing to the regulation of body composition in adulthood. In the absence of sufficient high-resistance and endurance exercise regulation of adult body mass is impaired: excess LBM is lost during energy deficit, and excess fat accumulates during energy surplus.
©1994The American College of Sports Medicine