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85-year-old adventurer encourages seniors to take risks

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- An 85-year-old Henrico County woman who says age is nothing but a number stays active every day has an undeniable zest for life.

“I’m a person that loves being retired,” Emily Kimball said.

You won’t find Kimball passing time in a rocking chair. In fact, she bikes 25 miles a week, swims and walks an hour every day.

Emily Kimball

Emily Kimball

“Well I have nothing against shuffleboard, but I got to tell you there are a hell of a lot of people doing a lot more than that,” Kimball said.

“I read the newspaper from back to front every day,” Kimball said.

“I don’t like to be called young. I’m not young. I’ve got wrinkles. I don’t want to get rid of them," Kimball said. "I am proud of who I am."

Since retiring 23 years ago,  this aging adventurer has accomplished several physically demanding goals.

“I knew I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine," Kimball said. "And I wanted to ride my bike across America."

Emily Kimball

Emily Kimball

Kimball said she is aging well and encourages others to do the same. When she is not hiking biking or walking, she can be found on the tennis court.

Kimball doesn’t call herself a superwoman, but she has beaten breast cancer twice.

And she delivers talks about aging well, including an upcoming Ted Talk at the Byrd Theatre on Oct. 28, and has authored two books about her excursions and adventures.

“I think it is important to take reasonable risks as you age because it opens up more experiences for you,” Kimball said.

The woman with a zest for life said ageism is real, but that she tries breaking the stereotype.

Emily Kimball

Emily Kimball

“When they see you doing those things, that helps change the image of older people,” Kimball said.

However, the octogenarian admits she is slowing down, but promises to stay active physically and mentally.

“I’m like in a dream world. I just love it and it makes you feel so good,” Kimball said.

Kimball,  a woman who embraces her age, has only regret: Not having another 85 years to live.

“I tell young people that you’ve got to stay healthy,” Kimball said. “You want enjoy those years because they’re wonderful.”

Click here to learn more about Kimball's adventures and aging well.  If you know someone who has a story to tell, email gmcquade@wtvr.com