Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your analog tapes are dying. Eventually they will degrade & be lost. Learn to convert VHS to DVD & save your memories.
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the unfortunate truth is that your analog tapes are dying, and there's nothing you can do about it. Whether you play them, exercise them, store them horizontally or vertically, tails-in, tails-out in an air-tight temperature-controlled bunker deep in Kansas, it doesn't matter. The best you can do is prolong the inevitable. Eventually the material on them will degrade and be lost.
Even if time stands still, technology marches on. Were you able to preserve your tapes with optimal quality and minimal loss, it's still getting harder and harder to find the machines on which to play them back. It was just yesterday that Betacam SP or Hi8 was all anyone wanted. Today, one is little more than a castaway, and the other is a minor footnote in history. If nothing else, these reasons alone should be enough incentive to update your archives, even if you will just convert VHS to DVD.
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