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Scents & Sensibility: Fragrances to Match Your Personality

The right fragrance can rev up your workout, boost endorphins, and even aid in post-exercise recovery. Find the aroma that matches your fit personality.

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Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
fruity fragrances
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Peter Ardito
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Scents for Hikers

Your Workout: Hiking
Your Fit Fragrance: Woodsy

"Women who like outdoor activities are drawn to earthy scents, like cedar," says Mandy Aftel, owner of Aftelier Perfumes in Berkeley, California. "Sniffing natural scents has been shown to help relieve insomnia and headaches," says Alan Hirsch, MD, of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.

  • With a woodsy base, sensual Guess Seductive ($40, guessparfums.com) lingers all day.
  • Cozy and warm Givenchy Play For Her Intense ($85, Macy's stores) contains amyris wood, sandalwood, and cedar.
  • Add some pep to your step: Herve Leger Femme ($34, avon.com) is a heady combination of cypress wood and honeywood.

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The Best Scent for Yoga Lovers

Your Workout: Yoga
Your Fit Fragrance: Floral

If you love the calming, good-karma benefits that come with striking poses, these bouquets will be your new best buds. Research suggests that lavender may decrease your heart rate and that jasmine can help you recover after your stretch session. Another study revealed that floral scents improve the speed at which you learn a new task, perhaps because they either boost eye-hand coordination or make subjects feel more relaxed.

  • Hit the mat with Twirl by Kate Spade New York ($65, belk.com). It's bursting with delicate jasmine, tiare, and magnolia blossoms.
  • Soothing jasmine melds with a lilylike scent in Calvin Klein Beauty ($65, sephora.com).
  • Spiked with touches of rose, iris, and jasmine, Pucci Miss Pucci ($74, sephora.com) is like a spritz of instant zen.

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The Best Scent for Runners

Your Workout: Running
Your Fit Fragrance: Fruity

Luscious citrus scents are instant pick-me-ups, perfect for joggers, who like the feel-good effects of hitting their stride. "Studies have shown that citrus notes can lift people's moods and make them feel more awake and alert and less stressed," Dr. Hirsch says.

  • Lancome Tresor in Love ($55, Macy's stores) is a crisp, invigorating blend of pear, nectarine, and peach.
  • Adidas Moves Pulse ($25, Walmart stores) gives you a boost with juicy blood orange, apple, and plum.
  • Mandarin and neroli in Very Hollywood Michael Kors Sparkling ($72, Ulta stores) create a succulent mix that lasts even through marathon-long days.

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The Best Scent for Spinners

Your Workout: Spinning
Your Fit Fragrance: Spicy

Spinners need boundless energy, and these high-octane perfumes will give you a reviving jolt. "Zesty scents are very sharp and exhilarating," Aftel says. A recent study by Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, reported that spicy mint aromas increased exercisers' stamina and decreased the fatigue they felt after cardio sessions.

  • Put the pedal to the metal with exotic-smelling Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights ($59, Macy's stores). It's packed with energizing papyrus, patchouli, and amber.
  • S by Shakira ($35, drugstores) refreshes with fiery Oriental notes, such as amber.
  • Rev up your ride with Acqua di Gioia ($39.50, Bloomingdale's stores), which is infused with mint.

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The Best Scent for Dancers

Workout: Dancing
Your Fit Fragrance: Gourmand

If you love ballet, jazz, hip-hop, or even Zumba classes, chances are you enjoy being in tune with your body. And scrumptious food-inspired fragrances take the cake in terms of increasing your self-esteem. "Because they're often associated with positive, nostalgic feelings, research suggests that these sweet scents can raise your endorphin levels, making you feel better about yourself," Dr. Hirsch explains.

  • Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Heavenly Stardust ($49, Victoria's Secret stores) has comforting traces of caramel and praline.
  • The star note in Pure DKNY ($80, dkny.com) is vanilla, which smells fresh, thanks to hints of creamy sandalwood.
  • Mary Kay Thinking of You ($30, marykay.com) sweetens skin with delish dashes of tonka bean, vanilla, and sugar.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2010.

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