Health and Well-Being-We'll exercise more creatively this year

How will Americans plan their exercise regimens in the year 2000? With a healthy dose of enthusiasm and creativity, according to the San Diego-based American Council on Exercise (ACE). Here are a few of ACE's predictions:

• Martial arts-themed classes will flatten, due in part to the increasing number of injuries reported by participants. Boot camp-style and strength-training classes using resistance bands will likely take their place.

• Functional and sports-specific personal training, such as golf, tennis, and mountain biking, will become more mainstream. Adventure workouts will be popular.

• People will also get fit for a reason or to achieve a goal. This is supported by the growing interest in triathlons, adventure racing, and mountain biking.

• On-line coaching and personal training will be a cyberspace staple, enabling clients to "virtually" interact with their trainers from remote locations.

• Fitness equipment will become "smarter." Customized user programs and heart rate interactive treadmills and elliptical trainers already exist. The next step: You will be able to download your workouts into a handheld device and take them with you anywhere. You can then use the device to program a piece of equipment while on the road, or modem directly to a Web site where a trainer can review your workouts and adjust your program accordingly.

• "Mindful" exercise programs will increase in popularity, particularly many styles of hatha yoga, Tai Chi, stretch/ relaxation-themed, Pilates-based exercise, and the many composite forms of mind/body fitness.

• Exercise that incorporates fitness into everyday life will become more popular.

• Mini-fusion workout centers at Laundromats, airports, and grocery stores will become more popular.

• Exercise programs geared toward older adults will increase in popularity, focused particularly on water-based fitness either in small groups or individually.

• Fitness for the "health of it." More people will seek fitness for health reasons instead of solely for appearance.

• Exercise will become a vital component of disease management, with a focus on systematic exercise for diabetes, coronary disease, blood cholesterol disorders, and depression.

• Props in fitness classes, such as step platforms, stability balls, and stretch and agility equipment used for speed drills and rehabilitation will become more prevalent.

• Spinning and indoor cycling programs will survive, but because they are very much instructor-driven, demand will depend on the presence of a good — thus popular — instructor.