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A loop is a programming concept that allows instructions to be repeated based on specific conditions. Looping mechanisms let programmers avoid redundant code by setting up iterations to execute blocks of code multiple times until a certain condition is met. Iterative structures like the for loop, while loop, and do-while loop control the execution flow in code, allowing programs to process repeating actions more efficiently. The for loop typically uses an index variable that increments or decrements through a range of values. A while or do-while loop checks a condition before executing the block of code inside it (in the case of while) or after executing it at least once (in the case of do-while). Proper use of loops can facilitate compact coding and program flexibility but must be carefully managed to avoid infinite loops which crash programs by running indefinitely.

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