I recently moved from one employer to another. I didn’t change jobs, I just got hired in as a permanent employee at the job. That meant that my health insurance changed. They want me to complete an online health assessment. I have done it, and they came up with an exercise plan for me. It’s personalized based on my answers to the questions. You can make a character come alive if you give him health. By that I mean that if your character is in terrific physical condition, how does he maintain it? you can show your character go jogging or return from the gym. It places the character in the real world. Don’t overdo it if it doesn’t actually advance the plot, but it can put in a much-needed pause for both your reader and your character. On the other hand, you can show how your couch potato character deals with the physical aspects of his world and problem. If you have a couch potato character, which must climb a mountain, well, you know how that would end. He/she has to have some skills. Getting to know your characters is essential to your story.
If you are going to have your couch potato climb a mountain, you need to make sure that the readers know that the couch potato was once a world famous mountain climber who has retired. The reader needs to know that the couch potato knows what to do. they need to know that Couch Potato once had the skills, but its current physical condition is poor so it should also have trouble doing the activity now. The old saying, “use it or lose it” has its roots deep in reality. It’s the same with any activity. There’s another old saying that you never forget how to ride a bicycle, but you can lose the stamina to go far. That’s what I mean. Make your reader feel the creaks and stress of Couch Potato’s muscles as it climbs the mountain, whatever the reason for it to make that climb. If Couch Potato must climb that mountain, it should feel the pain of moving muscles that haven’t done it in a while.
So when writing, make sure you know the physical condition of your characters. Make them take a health assessment and see how they shape up. I didn’t shape up well, when I took mine. I’m not that active anymore and my weight shows that. If you want action, get your couch potato off the couch and into an adventure, but have him/her wheeze and moan while he/she’s doing it. Your readers will be able to identify better with him/her.