Sitting at a desk or standing for eight hours or more can cause lower back pain and increase stress.

To help people limit and reverse job-related tension, American University offers a three-session "Exercise at Your Desk" program starting Monday.

"We are meant to be moving people, and sitting at a desk for a long period of time takes a toll," said Leslie Sandoz Mannes, a dance exercise teacher and instructor of the program.

Proper breathing techniques, body alignment and abdominal control are taught so people can incorporate these practices in their daily routine. Specific exercises focus on relieving upper and lower body tension. "People think they know how to do proper neck and shoulder rolls but I want to teach the correct way so they don't injure themselves," said Mannes.

The course is designed to introduce basic exercise concepts and to help orient people toward regular training. "This course is not designed as a substitute for a good fitness program, and people will not be totally fit after three sessions," Mannes warned.

Classes take place every Monday from Feb. 24 to March 10, 6:30 to 8 p.m, at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The fee is $20. To register call: 885-2500.