GIH's physiology research began in 1941 when Erik Hohwü-Christensen took up a newly created professorship in the physiology and hygiene of physical exercises at the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute, GCI. Per Henrik Ling's thesis, that gymnastics should be based on the laws of the human organism, thus began to be realized.
Erik Hohwü-Christensen had a solid scientific education from Copenhagen. Among other things, he had the Nobel laureate August Krogh as a teacher, and he succeeded in building up very high-class research. Examples of well-known researchers who received their education in that environment are Per-Olof and Irma Åstrand, Bengt Saltin, and Björn Ekblom.
Over the years, occupational and sports physiology research has covered many areas and has been of both fundamental scientific and applied nature. A clear focus has been on performance and limitations linked to oxygen uptake, as well as how different forms of training affect this. Another major line in recent years deals with adaptation mechanisms in the musculature during physical activity and inactivity.