Spinal Health

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.

Aerobic/Calorie Burn
* 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.

Other Stuff
* 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.

Bike, Spine, etc

My bike still isn’t in service, and neither is my spine.
I’m not taking alieve or valerian today, but there’s no way I could do hills or a hard trail.

Final tally of damage on my bike:
* 3 sprockets on my freewheel – DNP is replacing this. Probably will be okay, but I realized I got the 11-32 and wanted the 11-34.
* Busted links on my chain – Amazon replaced this for me, but I think the new chain will fail too. I did pick up some missing link spares so I could reassemble any broken links on the ride. I may have to pick up an SRAM 951 chain. It’s build/design is what I’d expect. KMC and Shimano in the 9-speed sizes are dimpled and when the pin pulls, it just fails permanently. Still, $25 for a chain. ouch.
* Bent axle – second time I’ve noticed this, but the only time it was major. I had to use my brass, machinist hammer to bend it back down before I could remove the freewheel.
* Freewheel thread shoulder – It’s not a flush/flat fit, so the freewheel overtightened to the point of actually rolling back part of the hub shoulder. This could lead to the entire freewheel thread shearing loose from the hub. Though there are enough locknuts to keep the wheel from falling off, I’d have to walk the bike back if that happened. The alternative is to switch to a freehub, which has a better bearing placement, so I wouldn’t be as likely to break things. There are limited options for a 28″ or larger tire, but still using rim brakes. It looks like I can get a replacement wheel for about $60, or both as a set for about $100. The alternative would be upgrading to disc brakes too, which would be more cost still. Also, changing to a freehub means buying a sprocket cassette. My freewheel wouldn’t fit on it.
* My spine… it’s still only about 60%. I may be able to ride Thursday morning, or I may wait until the weekend.

When I visited the local bike shop, they could order the wheel for me for $100, just for the one. I did let them order replacement axles for me… it’s the same price as I can get online, or within a dollar or so. I test-rode a decent 20″ bike with 29″ wheels, front suspension, disc brakes, 3×8 transmission, and it was very smooth, very comfy. The brakes were wire pull, and didn’t grip as tightly as I’d hope. Overall though, the bike was good stuff, and seemed like it, or a 22″ version would be what I would want in an upgrade. BUT, this low-cost version was $600, and I’m still not sure what all I break on bikes. Still, the 3-speed front is nice, because it would keep my chain from jumping. I might basically end up with close to that much in my existing bike. *sigh*