My critical stretches are:
- Calf stretch just because it reduces referred pain on hamstring stretches, and because I tore a gastroc once.
- Hammies get a hurdler stretch or similar. Tight hammies are big, bad back things, and a major problem for me.
- IT bands get a figure-four, or a leg over stretch to help reduce piriformis syndrome.
Others I enjoy when remembered:
- Pidgeon pose gets adductors AND IT bands a little, because I cannot really do the splits. This is mostly for 2 days after a long bike ride.
- Quad stretch, usually just grab my foot behind me and get as much stretch as I can. This is more for my knees than anything.
Core strength I need more of:
- Planks in all 4 directions also help core. Front plank can be replaced with pushups if form is good. Modified planks/pushups as necessary to prevent strain.
- Rows, whether off a doorframe, or a table, or with proper equipment, are important. However, a year post-op, and I’m still not really comfortable with twisting under load. I do one arm at a time, and keep my shoulders square. YMMV.
- Walking / hiking are great for core if it’s more than a few minutes, and more than just on a track or treadmill.
- Road bikes are low impact, but the bending is not always best.
- Spin bikes are easy to sit upright and get comfy, while burning calories, but the class matters a bunch.
- Some people run, but if your heel hits the ground, it just hammers your spine.
- Swimming, if that’s your thing. More of an upper-body thing.
- NOTE: Stretching after a good warm-up will be much more effective. Also, a good warm-up will break down some of the tight strands the same as stretching, just smaller amounts per step/stroke/whatever. Also, if I don’t stretch after a long bike ride, everything goes bad faster.
- There are other body stretches I should do, but I don’t suffer when I don’t do them. The /r/bodyweightfiness has good enough reference that I mostly ditched all of the other lists, charts, and PT printouts for it. http://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/kb/recommended_routine.compact
- Aspirin for NSAID since my family has a history of clots, and Ibuprofen/Naproxen increase clot risks when used long-term.
- Hot Tubs/showers are awesome for relaxing muscles, preventing cramps, etc.
- Extra salt when I exercise, because I’m a salty guy. Seriously. I cramp up if I don’t get enough, and this could be 1-2 grams of salt per liter of water consumed, depending on the temperature outside.