this may be a silly question but, is improvising to music a good way to make a you better at playing. I just started to do this and i am addicted to it but I also know that i have to do real practice and not just noodling around.
it helps u in alot of aspects in music, it opens up ur creativity and it helps u pick up speed accuracy and little nifty things that u can apply to stuff.

at least 90% of jam time our band has is improv
it's good to do for your ears' sake, but it's even better if you can know what you're doing.
'noodle around' over a song or some chord changes, but be aware of what you're playing. the notes, the rhythms, etc. then you can start to really get a better grasp on the instrument.
and yes, 'real' practice still needs to be done. but you'll always improve in some aspect as long as you keep playing.

and yes I still do "real" practice , but jamming to some music is just so much fun.
Much more fun than learning learning other people songs IMO.
definitely jam out to songs or backing tracks, but I usually record it so I can hear how it sounds...figure out what worked and what didnt work, what techniques dont quite come out right, personally thats the best way get better. I also will listen to songs hear licks or techniques that I really think I need and will learn them then practice applying them
'I love her, but I love to fish...I'm gonna miss her"