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Other organs

The arts also have been found to impact on other organs. For example, singing has been shown to enhance lung function, including forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, and breathing control.(41) Dance has been shown to alter heart rate and oxygen uptake.(42,43) And both listening to and making music have been shown to affect blood pressure and heart rate variability, which suggests that music also alters the activation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (two branches of the nervous system that involve bodily functions including breathing, heartbeat, and digestive processes).(44-46) Indeed, music has been shown to impact on the digestive system, including increasing gastric myoelectrical activity, gastric motility, and gastric emptying, and reducing nausea and vomiting.(47)

Physical function

The arts also have been shown to lead to changes in physical function. For example, magic tricks can enhance hand function and bimanual ability.(48,49) Rhythmic music can support improvements in gait velocity, stride length, cadence, and standing ability in people undergoing physiotherapy.(50,51) Importantly, these changes have not just been seen in healthy participants but also in people affected by strokes, spinal cord injuries, and brain trauma, (52,53) as well as people with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular sclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).(54-56) As another benefit for physical function, dance can lead to increased bone mineral density and reduce falls risk in older adults.(57,58)

 
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