9 Ways Your Home Theater Is Killing You and How to Stop It Page 2

Back
Bad posture is not a pretty sight and sitting incorrectly for long periods of time is a quick way to cause it. When seated, the muscles in your hips get tight, and can shorten over time. When these muscles try to stretch while standing, they pull on the back, causing it to arch unnaturally, causing pain. Back pain is the leading reason why people miss work, and the National Institute of Health lists back pain as the number two reason why people see their doctors, second only to colds and flu. You see, the hip bone really is connected to the back bone.

How to fight it
Watching your home theater doesn't have to turn you into a sloucher. Sit up straight and suck in that gut. If you're feeling ambitious, take a few minutes and do some sit-ups and crunches. Add in a few planks. You don't even need to pause the movie. A strong core will help you sit properly, even for hours at a time.

Hands and Fingers
Fingers are amazingly strong, but the muscles that control them aren't in your hands - they're in the forearm. And tendons running through tubes make the fingers move. Excessive use of gamign controllers or even your home theater's remote control can mess up your internal remote control system. Trigger finger is a condition where the tissue tubes that surround the tendons get inflamed and swollen. That causes friction and then the tendon itself gets inflamed. What happens next is bizarre. The fingers no longer move smoothly - when they try to move, the tension builds up until the fingers jerk instead. Studies show that video gaming also increases the development of carpal tunnel. Once this condition was reserved mostly for older office workers, but now it's being discovered in much younger kids. Call it Nintendonitis. How to fight it
Carpal tunnel is caused by an imbalance of muscle development. Sitting in one position, using the hand in a repetitive motion for hours on end, causes some muscles to overdevelop, while their counterparts are atrophied from lack of use. Moving around and shifting body and hand positions often will help alleviate the problem. And change it up. Buy a collection of gaming devices so you're not always using the same controller.

Whole body
This one is serious. Improperly installed gear can cause electrical shock. A study from the National Center for Health Safety found that 41% of recent electrocutions in the US were caused by consumer products. Interestingly, another 10% of those deaths were from improperly installed television antennas.

How to fight it Hire a pro. Really, they know how to play with electricity. The installation process will be safe and the device will operate safely. Feel like taking a chance? Then take the following precautions. Work as if every circuit you're dealing with is live. Only use one hand to keep a current from crossing your heart if you do mess up. Hang a sign over a circuit box to make sure no one else in the house flips the breaker before you're ready. Wear rubber-soled shoes, and if you need to work around water, stand on a dry rubber mat. Check for power lines near the roof before you attempt to install a satellite dish or antenna. But really, just Google "home electrician."

Whole Body Redux
BAM! It happens all the time (at least on Youtube) but can it happen to you? We're talking about cathode ray tubes that can, and do explode. Well, actually, they implode first. TV tubes hold a vacuum, so when they break, they implode. Air rushes in, glass shards are sucked in, and then bounce out in a blaze of glory. There is also danger from the massive capacitors inside TV sets. These hold onto an electric charge, and can blow if they get hit with a power surge or lightening strike. When a capacitor blows, bits of shrapnel can fly into the CRT, causing an implosion of epic proportions.

How to fight it: Always treat a CRT for what it is - a potential bomb. Be physically gentle with it. Also, be electrically gentle with it and buy a surge protector. They can't protect against every possibility, but will help keep some spikes from getting to your TV. When disposing of an old CRT, take it to an electric recycling center where they know how to properly handle those pesky tubes. Or just say "no" to CRTs. It's the 21st century. For god's sake, get an LCD already!

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