Why haven't you tried aqua jogging? [video]

It's 100 degrees (not counting the humidity). Your knees ache (again). Your bored on the treadmill (even though you're watching "The View," flipping through an Us Weekly, and blasting Rihanna through your ear buds). The gym is packed (on a Tuesday? at noon?).

Any (or all) of these could very well keep you from lacing up your running shoes. And maybe they should. Perhaps the answer to all these pains is taking your jog to the pool.

Aqua jogging gives you the benefits of walking or running, but with less impact and more resistance. Keep it simple by moving just as you would while running on land, or alter the difficulty by using water weights, doing intervals, adding high-knees or butt-kicks, or running backward. If you stay in the shallow end, somewhere between knee- and chest-depth, you will have more impact (as your feet hit the bottom) but less resistance in the water. Moving to deeper end may slow your speed but make your workout lower impact and more challenging.

While aqua jogging might look a little silly (I still can't get the image of my grandmother in a flowered swim cap pacing in the kiddie pool out of my head), it can be the answer to a lot of excuses to skip running. It's an exercise alternative for people recovering from injuries, those who want to cross-train, pregnant women, arthritis sufferers, and athletes who have just completed a big event. But should it be your next step in getting (or staying) fit?

The upsides
Running coach Dean Hebert says that he has used aqua training with clients who are injury prone and that it has been very successful in keeping them from getting hurt and still staying fit. Research has shown that athletes can maintain their fitness level for six weeks by exercising in water when they are unable to workout on land. Studies have also noted that inactive people have increased their cardiovascular fitness and people with joint issues have found relief while aqua exercising. Finally, researchers believe it might help fight osteoporosis.

Outside of entry to a park district pool or gym membership, you won't need a lot of gear to get started. Some aqua joggers opt to use a foam belt or aqua shoes, but others use noodles (just a few bucks at a big-box store and some completely free-form itand in the process, get more intensity out of their session. You can get fancy for pretty cheap, adding extra moves with a kickboard or (slightly deflated) stability ball.

The calorie burn of a moderate to intense 30-minute aqua run? It's good -- 400 calories.

The downsides
That same running coach cites some cons of working out in water. Not only must you have access to a pool, you are reliant on its schedule fitting your own. Because your body will need to adjust to this new kind of running, you will need to be patient and focus on having proper form (he gives lots of tips on that here). You won't be able to track your mileage as you would on a treadmill or land. And he bluntly calls out aqua jogging boring (although he admits he knows many people who love it).

Bill, who is blogging his journey to fitness over at Shredheads, says that aqua jogging doesn't aggravate his achy knees at all, but that the slowness of running in water gets tough sometimes.

Mixing up water sessions with on-land runs can help overcome the complaints about boredom and slowness. Coach Hebert also recommends staying engaged and focused by tracking effort rather than mileage, and pairing up with a partner or group . This pregnant aqua jogger says she combated doldrums by scheduling her workouts when she could peek in on master swim classes in other parts of the pool or eavesdrop on teens during their high school swim team practice.

Check out the video below for tips on getting started.

Have you tried aqua jogging? What did you think?

What's keeping you from running in the pool?