Unless you intend to take off like a rocket, only mild stretching should be necessary, before each Nordic walking session. As a matter of fact, only warmed-up muscles should be stretched, in order to avoid injury.
After exercise, in turn, stretching is essential. You should plan to properly perform a series of stretches for several minutes, after every exercise and in particular after Nordic walking, because in this activity you will be exercising practically every muscle of your body.
Stretching, to help regain the muscle’s original length and to prevent injuries should be an integral part of every exercise regimen.
It is surprising that not enough people realize how important stretching is in itself and particularly as an essential element of sports and exercise. If you are already doing it, great! If not, may I suggest that you use these simple instructions as a starting point.
Before you start, you should perform at least the basic leg and back-stretching exercises. Be gentle about it and remember that proper stretching is not really a movement, but rather a static stretching maneuver. Adopt the stretching position and hold it – without movement – for at the VERY LEAST 30 seconds.
Do not shortchange yourself here. Thirty seconds is the bare minimum for a muscle to stretch properly. Hold the position, while slowly counting “one thousand, two thousand, etc.”, until you reach 30,000, or 60,000 (one minute), which especially AFTER exercise would be a preferable figure.
Not stretching the back of your legs can lead to a whole variety of knee problems, so make sure that you gently stretch this area before and after Nordic walking.
The front of the thights (the quadriceps muscle) also must be stretched. Remember that for every action there is a reaction, so always make sure that you both exercise and stretch muscles on opposite ends of the spectrum. The biceps and the triceps could serve as an example. The same holds true for muscles of the legs, for the chest and for the back.
My own stretching routine consists of bending over to touch my toes (rear of the leg and back stretch), then a squat, while holding onto something with my hands (a front of the thigh and a super back stretch), then placing one leg at a time on something at about waist level (a super back of the leg stretch), then holding my ankle with a hand, behind my back (another great front of the leg, or quadriceps stretch), then leaning against an obstacle with my arms, placing the feet about two feet (50 cm) back and stretching the Achilles tendon. This pretty much completes stretching of the lower body and the back. Each of these stretches are held for 45 to 60, or more seconds.
For the chest, I grasp the poles above my head and with the arms straight move them to the back and while still keeping the arms straight back to the upright position and even to the front. you can really feel your pectorals stretch, while doing this movement.
So remember: Make stretching an INTEGRAL part of your life and particularly of your exercise routine. Your body will thank you for it.