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Almost 25 per cent of people, who are on a gym regimen, exercise at levels that can be detrimental to their health, a new study has revealed.

The study that looked into the exercise patterns of gym-goers in a fitness centre in Melbourne found that 23 per cent of them, exercising between six and 20 hours a week, are largely reliant on their physical fix.

The group called excessive exercisers undertook vigorous exercise for longer hours compared to their non-excessive counterparts.

Jane Fletcher, a psychologist said that people took to excessive exercise mostly when they were sick or injured.

Exercise is not bad in itself. It is whether it interferes with your work, social life and family life that may indicate whether you have a problem.

Some of the worst cases were of people being sick of work and still going to the gym or those insisting on exercise in 40-degree heat. It's more than just the number of hours they exercise each week. It's about the reasons behind why they might be exercising.

Excessive exercise can cause repetitive-use injuries and chronic infections triggered by lower immunity.

Overdoing it can lead to stopped periods and osteoporosis in women.

The executive director of the Eating Disorders Foundation of NSW, Amanda Jordan, said that over-dependence on exercise is most often the first sign of an eating disorder.

It can begin as something which is quite moderate and contributing to fitness and then you start getting into real strife because people do not know when to stop.