Health is wealth. What does this mean? You hear guys saying whoever dies with the most toys wins. As they say, talk is cheap.

So what is more important? We have all seen someone who is very sick and if they had a choice, they would trade in all of their toys and material goods for a return to good health.

We have always been a nation of champions. We love to be number one in the world. The United States spends twice as much on health care than Germany, which is second, but we rank number 19th in world health.

This puts us on par with Nicaragua and Uruguay.

We have more tests performed, take more drugs and have more surgeries than any country, and we are not any healthier for it. You cannot let someone else be responsible for your health.

One of my favorite books is “Younger Next Year.” In this book, written by a physician and his patient, it is stated you cannot stop the aging process, but decaying is optional.

We have all seen people who look older than their actual age. They have poor posture, their skin is gray and there’s no twinkle in their eyes.

This does not have to be you. As the book says, you can be younger next year but it takes work. It is your responsibility to take care of your health, not the drug companies’.

Over my years of practice I have seen a number of patients make a life transformation. They have decided they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It is time they do something about it and take matters into their own hands.

One patient made this decision last December while in Florida for the winter. He decided he wanted to be around for his wife and grandchildren. As a result he made a commitment to change his eating habits, get more exercise and stop drinking.

His results were astonishing. His weight was 204. He is now at his high school weight of 160. He is off his blood pressure and cholesterol medications. He only takes medication to manage his diabetes. He claims his sex life also has improved. He can do the things he used to do years ago.

Another patient recently came in boasting about her results from a recent physical. All of her blood tests now are normal and she is off all medications.

Two years ago she started a walking program and went to a weight loss support group and changed her life. She, too, can now do things she had not been able to do for years.

Companies are working with their employees to make them healthier. They realize a healthier employee is a more productive and happy employee.

I have worked with a number of companies and several thousand employees in Maine, New York and North Carolina to develop exercise and stretching programs to prevent injuries.

Many of these exercises are the same ones I prescribe to athletes I see for sports injuries to speed up their healing and prevent injuries in the future.

These exercises make their bodies more flexible, which allows them to become stronger and fitter. In yoga they say the longer the tissue, the younger the tissue.

Note how flexible a baby is. We want our employees to be young for their age and stay healthy.

How do you get started on your journey to health? Take the attitude, if it is going to be, it is up to me. Write down your goals. Make them realistic. Consult with your health care provider and get moving. You can do it.

Dr. Robert Lynch is a former president of the Maine Chiropractic Association and head of the Lynch Chiropractic Center in South Portland. “Staying in the Game” appears every other Thursday in the Press Herald.