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"Even if you are doing moderate exercise only once or twice a week there are still improvements in cognitive function, but the improvements were better the more exercise was done," he said.

Why is Present Continuous used in this sentence? Shouldn't it be Present Simple because of repeated actions "once or twice a week"?

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39693462

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    Note that the sentence in the original is in quotes. It's an awkward construction. The speaker means to say that the improvements would be greater with more exercise but confuses his tenses. As you say, Present Simple would be preferable but the second half of the sentence is still badly constructed. – Ronald Sole Apr 29 '17 at 22:52
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The simple present tense ("you exercise moderately") would be appropriate, but the continuous ("you are doing moderate exercise") is also possible in this case.

As you note, the simple present tense indicates a habitual action. The speaker's use of the continuous suggests that he is thinking of this exercise routine as a temporary state. Perhaps after you read this article, you will choose to exercise more. :)

  • Or "doing moderate exercise one or twice a week" is viewed as an on-going state like "He is studying English" – eques Mar 27 '18 at 14:42

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