It is hoped more than 8,000 older Australians will no longer suffer from inactivity, isolation and loneliness, thanks to a new program being run by the Australian Sports Commission. 

The program, called Roll Back the Clock, uses bowls, light exercise and education and aims to boost physical activity rates among Australians aged 65 and over. 

Currently, only one in four Australians over 65 meet the Department of Health’s physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes of activity per day.

Not only does physical inactivity impact physical health and can contribute to a higher incidence of falls. The reduced functional capacity of older adults due to inactivity also negatively impacts mental and social health and well-being.

 Roll back the clock

To date, Roll Back the Clock sessions have been delivered across Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with new dates being added around the country.

The program was kick-started with a $1.2 million grant from the Australian Sports Commission’s Better Ageing program.

Each session of Roll Back the Clock costs $10 and attracts an average of 10 people. Around 3,000 participants have completed the program since it began.


Bowls Australia said the benefits range from enabling participants to perform activities of daily life more easily, to withstanding injuries and providing a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

Fitness gains from the program include flexibility, muscular endurance and strength and in some instances aerobic/cardiovascular exercise.

Building on the success of the in-person program, Bowls Australia has expanded the initiative to incorporate a ‘Roll Back The Clock at Home’ video series that can be completed at home. 

 National evaluation

A national evaluation of more than 20 grants funded through the Better Ageing program found that participation in the number of sessions of organised sport and physical activity each week nearly doubled after attending a funded program, increasing from 1.7 times per week to 2.7 times per week. 

Overall, physical activity increased the most in disadvantaged communities, from 1 to 2.9 days per week achieving 30 minutes of physical activity. 

Do you need aged care support for yourself or a loved one? Just Better Care can help people from diverse backgrounds with different lifestyles achieve their goals. Get started by talking to a local team member today.