Exercise can cause shortness of breath in anyone, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Occasionally, during physical activities some people with asthma experience this common symptom of the respiratory illness, as well as coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. But common asthma medications and preventive measures can help these folks cope with this issue.

Indeed, exercising or participating in sports can strengthen your breathing muscles, which in turn allows your lungs to work more efficiently. But it’s key to keep this chronic condition under control and well managed.

For starters, it’s crucial to know the triggers for exercise-induced asthma (now called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction). These include cold, dry weather, high pollen or mold counts and exposure to pollutants, such as smoke and fumes. In addition, to prevent the obstruction of airflow, asthma sufferers must take prescribed medicines for long-term control as well as for quick relief of symptoms. (Also, warm up before you exercise and cool down after.)

Additionally, sports that involve short bursts of vigorous movement, such as baseball, volleyball and gymnastics, are considered more suitable for those with asthma than activities that require prolonged periods of intense exertion, such as long-distance running and basketball.