How To Help Restore Energy

John Paul Ouvrier

John Paul Ouvrier

Has this ever happened to you:

You’ve been sick or very tired, and you’ve taken some time off to rest.
Yet when you get back up, you still feel tired and worn out.

What’s going on?

Certainly there are medical concerns to address with your doctor, but if you’ve received a clean bill of health, then where did your energy go? I’d like to share with you the most common reason this happens, and what you can do about it. The best way to help get your energy back after being sick is better breathing.

I am blessed to have worked within the retirement industry for more than twenty years, and I see many people on the road to recovery. Almost all of them without exception are guilty of the same poor habit after being sick: Shallow breathing. And here’s why. When we’re sick or resting, the demand for oxygen in our body is low and therefore we breathe in a more shallow way. This is normal. Yet if we’ve been sick for some time, or if we sit a lot or don’t do much, we can then get into a habit of shallow breathing. Once this happens, we run out of breath the moment we try to do something that requires more air than sitting!

I have seen very strong people, who were very busy before they became sick, unable to walk across the room without running out of air after they’ve been sick. And what do they think is the reason why? “I am getting old…” or “I’m too weak…” No, no, no- that may not be true!
What is true is that most of us take our core basic physical habits for granted, and then wrongly assume we’re old or weak because we feel bad. And if we don’t breathe very well, then our body is starved of the fuel it desperately needs and we will run out of air! So here’s what to do before you get up:

Sit on the edge of the bed and tap your feet on the floor to wake your balance muscles.
Relax your neck and shoulders, lift up tall, and breathe deeply, in and out five times.
Inhale for a count four, and exhale for a count of four for all five breaths.
Tap your feet again, stand up (nose over toes!), balance, and don’t hold the breath!

Breathe deeply for the rest of the day with a count that’s comfortable for you.

This is so important to do. When I work with a patient to get them up and moving, the first thing I have them do BEFORE they get up is to breathe in and out deeply five times, and then I make sure they don’t hold the breath when they walk. Once they discover they can actually walk without running out of air, they will usually say to me, “Okay, now my legs are tired!” And tired legs we can work with- shallow breathing however needs to become un-shallow!

So if cats, dogs, and kids breathe in deeply throughout the day, so should you, especially when you’re recovering! Try this anytime you need a quick boost of energy, and then share Put Old on Hold with your friends. Thank you for reading. Happy breathing! Blessings!

~Because you’re stronger than you think, you can do more than you know!~

John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning any exercise program or following  advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact John at, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! &


  1. Gloria Brown says


    I look forward to your columns and try to practice whatever you say, I am a shallow breather and I love this article on breathing, I have been practicing. 🙂

  2. John,

    Your articles have encouraged and inspired me through a couple of comebacks – from my first broken bone at 68 to slumps caused by other medical problems. I’m happy to report that, with my doctor’s approval, I’m reconnecting with my body and how it best functions using your tips, yoga and reformer bed Pilates.

    You’re right, good deep breathing habits can be regained and relearned. They help us stand upright to our full height and fight the effects of gravity and depression as we age.

    Stand – and sit – taller and you WILL be stronger and healthier!

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