You have been using the elliptical for a while. You know that it was recommended to you because it is safer on the joints than running on the treadmill, but you are getting so bored. There are a few tricks you can do to vary it up no matter what program you are on. Try any of the below modifications and you will burn even more calories at the same time working your muscles differently.
Squat Variation(intermediate to advanced): You will want to make sure you are holding on the whole time. You will want to lean back, hinging at the hips. You can decide how low you can take that squat. The lower the squat the more you will feel it in your quads (front of your legs). This will engage the abdominals, lower back, quads, hamstrings and also test your balance. You can alternate between the squat and standing upright during your routine and slowly increase the amount of minutes you are in that squat position.
No Hands Variation (intermediate): You will want to make sure you are staying upright. You will keep your arms by your side, elbows bent as if you were running. You can move them as you are moving the legs- alternating the leg and the arm ( left arm, right leg and vice versa). This will test your balance and engage the core.
Arms Perpendicular (intermediate to advanced): This exercise is similar to the above No Hands Variation except your arms are straight out keeping your elbows and shoulders lined up. It is important to keep your hands in the same straight line (lowering the hands will not keep your wrists strong). The arms out away from the body will increase your heart rate as well as engage your shoulders, triceps and upper back. You may not be able to hold those arms straight out (perpendicular) for any longer than 1-2 minutes at a time.
Lateral Raises with Shoulder Press Variation (intermediate to advanced): This addition is a great movement for the mind as well as balance. It take concentration and engages many different shoulder and upper back muscles. You will take your arms out to the sides (straight and even with the shoulders) and then take the arms up over the head ( reaching to the sky ). To help with the mind, alternate your palms facing down and then up. This is great for so many different muscles groups.
Remember, when you are trying any of these additions to your elliptical routine, keep in mind that you may want to alternate them all (advanced) or pick one routine and incorporate it into your existing program.
Good Luck and Never Stop Trying!