October 2017, Yifan Dong: Achieving the Zone

Yifan Dong

It is quite common that we are often reminded the importance of physical exercise by the environment around us, whether it would be the billboard of the attractive model with a stunning body, our friends and families or by our own self-consciousness telling us to start the dreaded training routine we set ourselves as new year resolution.

So why should we all consistently do physical activity, besides all the health benefits given us as reasons?
Well, I strongly believe the reason why you should do physical activity is to reach this state of mind known as “Zone”.

Being in the Zone

“Zone” is a typical way many athletes describe of having an exceptional performance in which their skills and abilities seem to be used at their maximum potential. The result is the experience of a sense of total control of the game or match, a clear vision of what they must do to win, and total isolation from outside influences such as money, fame and other types of distractions. However, “zone” can be also achieved by non-professional athletes, people like you and me. The more we practice a sport, physical activity, or exercise, the easier we would be able to enter this state of mind.


Why then should we all be able to reach the zone? The reason is the same as why we all consume different types of entertainment such as music, social media or Netflix: “Escapism”.

Often times well all try, in a way or another, to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, hence our constant seeking of entertainment. By all means, it is definitely not wrong to sometimes seek distractions to just forget momentarily about all the stress, monotony and hardships of everyday life.

The difference between using physical exercise and entertainment as form of escapism is often the after effect. I almost always found myself guilty and full of shame when I finish binge-watching a TV series or after a 4 straight hours of console gaming, because I know deep inside that I could have used that time to do something more productive. On the other hand, after a good session of physical activity I always feel good and proud about myself. I was able to zone out (pun intended) from the reality for a while and just concentrate on the exercises I would be doing. Moreover, I was able to do something healthy for my body and mind.

Beyond physical activities

Believe it or not, zone is a state of mind that can be achieved when doing any type of activity that you are interested in, passionate about or challenges you. I am sure all of you have experienced or have had glimpses of being the zone before, even doing simple activities such as doing your school assignments, your task at work or hanging with your friends.

Sports and physical exercises can hugely help you enter this state of mind more often, and allow you to be fully present in the moment, with you mind, body and soul.