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No matter how you do it, burning fat will take effort. The more effort you expend, the more fat you will lose. When it comes to cycling and walking, one activity requires more energy, burns more calories and will burn more fat. However, choose the activity that's right for you, based on the effort you want to put in and the time you want it to take.
In order to burn fat you need to expend more calories than your body takes in. For instance, if you eat 2,700 calories of food in a day then you will need to burn off exactly that many calories to maintain your current weight. If you burn off fewer calories, then the remaining energy will be stored as fat. But if you burn off more than 2,700 calories, then your body begins burning off energy from its fats stores. So when you ask which exercise burns more fat, you're really asking which exercise burns more calories.
Calories Required to Burn Fat
According to the McKinley Health Center, a net loss of 3,500 calories will result in 1 pound of fat being burned. Of course, you don't want to burn those additional calories overnight -- the McKinley Health Center recommends that you create a 500- to 1,000-calorie per day deficit, which will burn 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week.
For a person who weighs 160 pounds, walking at a slow pace of 2 mph will burn just 3 calories per minute. At this rate you would need to walk for more than 1,100 minutes to burn off a pound of fat. At a quick pace of 4 mph the number of calories burned would increase to 6 calories per minute. Walking at this pace it would take you nearly 600 minutes to burn 1 pound of fat.
Cycling is a quicker activity than walking, so it's no surprise that it burns more calories. A person weighing 160 pounds will burn 11 calories per minute cycling at a slow pace of 12 to 14 miles per hour. This would result in a loss of 1 pound of fat in just over 300 minutes. At a quicker pace of 14 to 16 miles per hour, the number of calories burned per minute increases to 13 -- resulting in a pound of fat loss in less than 300 minutes.